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Marc Harshman is the 7th Poet Laureate of West Virginia appointed by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin in 2012 in recognition of his work for both poetry and children’s literature.

For many years, Marc Harshman taught fifth and sixth grades at the Sand Hill School, one of the last of the three-room country schools. Raised in Indiana, he has lived his adult life in West Virginia with his wife, Cheryl Ryan (author, artist, & librarian).  His daughter, Sarah, is a children’s librarian and recently finished graduate work at The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.  The author of thirteen picture books for children, he is also a storyteller.  His children's books have been published in Spanish, Korean, Danish, Japanese, and Swedish.  ONLY ONE was a Reading Rainbow review title on PBS TV and THE STORM was a Junior Library Guild selection, a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children, a Children's Book Council Notable Book for Social Studies, and a 1995 Parent's Choice Award recipient. "Booklist" has called this same title "a knowing book that will speak to all children about self-image and hard-won success."   Mr. Harshman was honored in 1994 by receiving the Ezra Jack Keats / Kerlan Collection Fellowship from the University of Minnesota for research on Scandinavian myth and folklore.  He was also named the West Virginia state English teacher of the year by the West Virginia English Language Arts Council in 1995. He was named the recipient of the WV Arts Commission Fellowship in Poetry for the year 2000 and the Fellowship in Children’s Literature for 2008.  He holds degrees from Bethany College, Yale University Divinity School, and the University of Pittsburgh. He has also recently received honorary doctorates from Bethany College and West Liberty University in recognition of his life’s work.

His newest children’s book is ONE BIG FAMILY (illustrated by Sara Palacios), Eerdmans, 2016. His fourteenth children’s title, FALLINGWATER, co-written with Anna Smucker, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic house, is forthcoming from Roaring Brook/Macmillan in 2017. His second full-length collection of poetry, BELIEVE WHAT YOU CAN, was published in August by the Vandalia Press of West Virginia University.  His four chapbooks of poems, ROSE OF SHARON, Mad River, MA. His short prose works have won awards from Newport Review and Literal Latté and been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Anthology publication of poems include Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona.  He has also served as an instructor for the historic Appalachian Writers Workshop at the Hindman Settlement School in Hindman, KY. This spring he was invited to read from his recent work at the Greenwich Book Festival in London. His monthly show for West Virginia Public Radio, “The Poetry Break,” began airing in January.  Marc lives in Wheeling, WV with his wife, Cheryl Ryan, artist and director of the Elbin Library, West Liberty University.


More information about Marc and his work can be found in this blog write up - click here.

To learn about past West Virginia Poet Laureates, click HERE.

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