Stanley Plumly Named Maryland’s Poet Laureate

The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Stanley Plumly, a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, has been named as Maryland’s poet laureate. The article, however, didn’t note that the poet, now a resident of Maryland, was born in Barnesville in 1939.

The Barnesville native returned to his eastern Ohio roots a few years ago when he was a featured poet at the James Wright Poetry Festival in Martins Ferry, before that annual event’s demise.

Plumly’s new honorary position entails staging public readings around the state of Maryland, officials indicated.

Meanwhile, the University of Maryland is presenting “A Celebration of Stanley Plumly and Poetry,” to highlight his work and the importance of poetry, Thursday and Friday, Oct. 29-30.

Plumly, 70, founded the Master of Fine Arts degree program in creative writing at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of nine books of poetry. One of his volumes, “Old Heart,” was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Most recently, he wrote “Posthumous Keats,” described as a “personal biography” of English poet John Keats.

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More Upper Ohio Valley residents are being honored by West Virginia University.

This weekend, as part of the homecoming celebration, the WVU Alumni Association is honoring five alumni “for their exemplary service.” The 2009 alumni chapter and service award recipients include Dr. James Wilson of Glen Dale.

Wilson and the other four honorees were to be honored during the WVU-University of Connecticut football game in Morgantown Saturday, Oct. 24.

The Glen Dale resident received the David W. Jacobs Lifetime Service Award which “recognizes support and lifelong service to the WVU Alumni Association,” according to school officials.

Wilson, a 1963 graduate of WVU, has remained actively engaged in the life of his alma mater. He served on the WVU athletic council and the WVU alumni board of directors (including a stint as president from 2000-01). Currently, he serves on the WVU School of Dentistry’s visiting committee.

In addition, Wilson gave 20 years of service to the Marshall County Board of Education, served on the State School Board Association for 15 years and volunteered with the Ohio River Valley Council Boy Scouts of America for 25 years.

Meanwhile, Vanessa DeCesare of Toronto is one of five WVU students competing for the title of Ms. Mountaineer as part of WVU’s Mountaineer Week. Five students are in the running for Mr. Mountaineer, but none is from our local area.

DeCesare, daughter of Toby and Peggy DeCesare, is a speech pathology and audiology major. She is a member of the WVU National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association and Mortar Board national college senior honor society.

DeCesare participates in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and is a volunteer at Morgantown Unity Manor. She also is a resident assistant and community service adviser for Arnold Hall on the WVU campus.

The winners of the Ms. Mountaineer and Mr. Mountaineer titles will be announced during the WVU-University of Louisville football game Saturday, Nov. 7.

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On another WVU note, Hancock County native Jay Drury, director of the West Virginia University marching band, announced Friday, Oct. 23, that 750 donors have given in excess of $85,500 to the band’s 2009 Travel Fund campaign.

A check was to be presented to the band during halftime of the WVU football game Saturday, Oct. 24.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: