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Poetry



Bottom Dog Press, 84 pp., Huron, OH, 2012
 
Marc Harshman writes a poetry of bonds, bonds between individuals, between families and communities, between the past and present.  In his poems the mythic and the folkloric often swirl around the everyday.  They are poems of clear-eyed witness and unexpected connections, of relish and humor, and sometimes the macabre, even the uncanny.  Harshman celebrates the local and personal as it touches the larger world, in vivid portraits, rituals that define our lives.  I admire the authenticity of both the voice and the vision.
                      ~Robert Morgan, author of Terroir

 

The poetry of Marc Harshman is deply anchored in the earth, the elements of light and water, of all life closely observed.  Plants and animals and human beings are equally treasured.  Harshman's deep spirituality also permeates his poetry.  This new volume by West Virginia's Poet Laureate is a joy.

                      ~Denise Giardina, author of Storming Heaven

 

Marc Harshman knows these people, these places, and he has the wisdom of someone who knows when to be quiet, when to watch, and listen, so that he can come to us and tell these heart-felt stories.  These poems earn their keep, weaving together the physical and spiritual worlds in a landscape that can both sustain us and break our hearts.

                     ~Jim Daniels, author of Show and Tell:  Selected Poems

 

GREEN-SILVER AND SILENT was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for the Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association and Berea College.




Quarrier Press, 24 pp., WV, 2013
 
Through his big-hearted poems, Marc Harshman teaches the rest of us how to pry ourselves open a little, to love the world and everything in it just a little more.  Whatever their subject - the death of a grandmother, sympathy for a bear, or the way a trout fisherman can be "caught" every bit as much as a trout - these poems are deeply felt, deeply affecting and absolutely essential.
                     ~Doug Van Gundy, author of A Life Above Water
 
 
ALL THAT FEEDS US:  THE WEST VIRGINIA POEMS by Marc Harshman is a wonderful collection that ranges from the story of the ancient Hebrews to the very concrete lives of contemporary rural West Virginians.  He writes of "milk and honey/loaves and fishes/tomatoes and sweet corn" as well as of fly fishing, whinnying screech owls, mountaintop removal, apples in the basement, and gum trees with red leaves smoldering.  All of this takes us deep into the meaning of human experience.  Every word rings true, and truth rings out of the poems.
                     ~Meredith Sue Willis, author of Re-Visions:  Stories from Stories and Higher Ground
 
 
The first thing you may notice about Marc Harshman's beautifully made poems are their convincing, low-key spoken voice.  Then you discover the sweetness of his images of "ordinary" people and West Virginia landscapes; as he says in "Setting the Hook":  "there's no getting free/of what it is here I love."  I don't know another living poet who does these things so well and so truly.
                     ~Ed Ochester, author of Unreconstructed:  Poems Selected and News and Editor, Pitt Poetry Series



Finishing Line Press, 24 pp., KY, 2004
 
During the author's meditative walk through the seasons in the back country of West Virginia, he writes of those moments of beauty and immanence when "the breeze slows/the cricket quiet/returns."  This is just about as satisfying a book of poems as we can ever hope to find.
                     ~Jared Carter, author of Cross This Bridge at a Walk and Work, for the Night is Coming
 
 
These rich, beautiful poems are so close to the natural world that you can almost feel the wet stones and moss on your hands and hear bird song and mountain streams in the intricate music of the lines.  Marc Harshman draws an intelligent, precise map of one small, rural place by taking as his reliable guide a love of naming - "hay stubble," "branch-twined shadows," "khaki-plated grasshoppers," "world of wings!" 
                     ~Maggie Anderson, author of Windfall:  New and Selected Poems, Pitt Poetry Series
 
 
If words could save the world, Marc Harshman's LOCAL JOURNEYS would save the woods and small farms of West Virginia. Harshman's vision is so attuned to this landscape that, as the speaker says in "Mushrooms," he "can hardly step/without finding."  And what he finds is "the real story" of intricate connections, of "these little things that happen" that change the seasons, that make life possible.  Poem by poem, we travel deeper into "a miraculous maze/ of shadow and bark" where the poet "open[s]/the trees/as if/as if opening/ the rooms of paradise."
                    ~George Ella Lyon, author of She Let Herself Go:  Poems
 
 
 
 

 Mad River Press, 27  pp., MA, 1999

A beautiful production from one of the leading small presses in North America.  Barry Sternlieb, publisher, has specialized in the "very slow creation of handmade letterpress broadsides and chapbooks since 1986."

 

 


State Street Press, 30 pp., NY, 1983

About Harshman's first chapbook Jared Carter wrote in The Georgia Review:  "Everything he describes is authentic and convincing; it is a poetry of attentiveness."


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To enter this work is to remain open to the haphazard, the lopsided, the fragile, and the bracing details that tell our times as we both know and fear them. Believe What You Can is an astonishing and generous book that gives a credible ‘map of true witness.’

   -- Maggie Anderson, author of Windfall: New and Selected Poems and Dear All

 

     Believe What You Can overflows with rich lines and vivid images, as the poet laureate of West Virginia speaks to classic concerns of loving the land, struggling to thrive, and holding on to what can be believed.

    -- Ron Houchin, author of The Man Who Saws Us In Half

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