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Marc Harshman, West Virginia’s poet laureate, was born October 1, 1950, in Randolph County, Indiana. He received his bachelor’s degree from Bethany College and separate master’s degrees from Yale Divinity School and the University of Pittsburgh. Harshman began to write as a high school student and published his first poem while a student at Yale.

He is a storyteller and children’s author, as well as poet. His first book of poetry, Turning Out the Stones, was published in 1983. In 1989, Harshman’s first children’s book, A Little Excitement, was published. He has since published several other children’s books, including The Storm (1995), which was named a Smithsonian National Book for Children, and Only One Neighborhood (2007). Another of his books, Red Are the Apples (2001), was co-written with his wife, Cheryl Ryan Harshman, and he wrote Rocks in My Pocket (1991) with the late Doddridge County storyteller, Bonnie Collins. Marc Harshman, who lives in Wheeling, has also published two other collections of poetry. He says that living in West Virginia is important to his work: “I am the kind of writer who needs to know where the woods are and that there are good friends and neighbors nearby.”

Harshman taught for many years, first at the college level and then in grade schools. For a time he taught fifth and sixth grade at Sand Hill School in Marshall County, one of the last three-room schools in the state. He continues to visit schools and present workshops about writing.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin named Marc Harshman the state poet laureate on May 18, 2012, following the death of Irene McKinney, who had served in the post since 1994. Harshman is the ninth person to serve as poet laureate since the position was established by the legislature in 1927.

This Article was written by Becky Calwell

Last Revised on August 27, 2013

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Cite This Article

Calwell, Becky "Marc Harshman." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 27 August 2013. Web. 19 April 2014.

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