State Poet Laureate Named

Congratulations are offered to my good friend, Marc Harshman of Wheeling, who has received the prestigious honor of being named as West Virginia’s Poet Laureate

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Friday that he appointed Harshman to the position, effective immediately. The Wheeling poet fills the vacancy left by Irene McKinney, who died at age 72 on Feb. 4. McKinney served as the state’s Poet Laureate for 18 years, from 1994 until her death.

A poet and storyteller, Harshman has written 11 children’s books and three volumes of poetry. His poems also have appeared in anthologies and several periodicals.

Two new children’s titles are forthcoming from this well-known and popular author. He is at work on several other projects in both poetry and children’s books.

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Award-winning poetry and prose selections by Harshman and Weirton native Anna Egan Smucker, among others, are featured in the newly-published book, “The Anthology of Appalachian Writers, Ron Rash Volume IV.”

The volume of Appalachian stories, essays, poetry and photographic art focuses both on the region and the literary art of poet and novelist Ron Rash. Storytellers, poets and essayists from Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia and Iceland contributed to the volume.

Readings from the anthology will take place at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25. The event will be part of the 2012 Appalachian Heritage Writers Project and Appalachian Heritage Festival, featuring the work of Gretchen Moran Laskas.

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In addition, Harshman and poet Maggie Anderson gave a poetry reading this spring at the Appalachian Studies Conference which, for the first time in its history, was held north of the Mason Dixon line. The conference met at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Anderson, who has deep roots in the Mountain State, served as artist-in-residence in Marshall County for several years in the late 1970s.

Also appearing on the conference’s program were Ben Stout, a professor at Wheeling Jesuit University; oral historians and folk musicians Michael and Carrie Kline of Elkins, formerly of Wheeling, and Scott Hanna, professor at West Liberty University, who gave a program on Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Wright, the late Martins Ferry native.

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Two area artists will participate in the Granville Art Affair on the Great Lawn of the historic Bryn Du Mansion in Granville, Ohio, Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10.

Frances Caldwell of New Martinsville will feature her work in the porcelain artistic media category. Wellsburg resident Russ Shaffer will show his embossed engraving utilizing organic paper in the fiber category.

Granville Art Affair is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 9, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 10. Admission is free.

The event is a juried fine arts festival set on the 32-acre Great Lawn of the mansion. The show will feature more than 80 artists showcasing a variety of work.

The wine festival, presented by the Rotary Club of Granville, features international wine tasting and food sampling provided by central Ohio restaurants. In addition, a Columbus Polo Club match will be held at the Bryn Du estate Sunday, June 10.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: