THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - West Virginia’s poet laureate shared readings of his work Wednesday evening as part of Davis & Elkins College’s inauguration celebrations for President Chris Wood.
Marc Harshman, of Wheeling, is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia, and he was appointed in 2012 by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The award-winning author has written 13 children’s books and is working on his 14th. He also has written two full-length collections of poetry and is working on his third.
His second poetry collection, “Believe What You Can,” was published in August by the Vandalia Press of West Virginia University, and it just received the 2016 Weatherford Award in poetry.
“It’s a big honor,” he said Wednesday, prior to sharing his readings before an audience at the Myles Center for the Arts on the D&E Campus. “I always hope my poetry will be both entertaining and inspiring.”
Harshman said he has been able to travel the world, and his favorite part of his work is sharing his children’s stories with little kids.
“I enjoy being able to show kids right here in West Virginia that there are authors here, and you really can grow up and be what you want to be,” he said. “I also like to show poetry can be fun and accessible.”
Bill King, a professor in D&E College’s English Department, thanked Harshman for coming this week to share readings, as well as lead workshops and lectures.
“We’re very lucky to have Marc here,” King said. “He has so much wisdom and energy.”
On a personal note, he said Harshman’s poetry helped a great deal when King was fighting cancer.
“Those poems were read to me when I was too sick to open my eyes and read,” King said, explaining family and friends spent time reading to him from Harshman’s books of poetry. “Those poems fed me, and they still do.”
During one of the readings Wednesday, Harshman was joined by local musician Doug Van Gundy of Elkins. Van Gundy played the old-time tune “Yew Piney Mountain” while Harshman read a poem inspired by the song.
More information about Harshman is available at www.poetlaureate.wv.gov.
D&E College’s inauguration events continue today, with a lecture by David Morrison at 11 a.m. at the Robbins Memorial Chapel; the dedication of Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy at noon; and the inauguration ceremony at 4:30 p.m. in the Harper-McNeeley Auditorium.