Agency Header


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. 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.

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. Mr. Harshman was named the West Virginia state English teacher of the year by the West Virginia English Language Arts Council in 1995.

Mr. Harshman's most recent full-length collection of poems, Believe What You Can, was published by The Vandalia Press of West Virginia University and was the winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association. His four chapbooks of poetry include Rose of Sharon and Mad River, MA.  Periodical publications include The Georgia Review, Emerson Review, Salamander, Poetry Salzburg Review, Gargoyle, and many others in the US and abroad.  His poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, SPM Publications [London], and the University of Arizona.

Marc Harshman’s fourteenth children’s title, Fallingwater, co-written with Anna Smucker, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic house, has just been published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan. 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." 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.  

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. Recently, in the spring of 2016 he was invited as a reader at the Greenwich Book Festival in London and he recently returned from performing with Doug Van Gundy a show titled, Running with Whiskey, highlighting poetry, music, and storytelling at venues in Wales including Red House, Merthyr Tydfil.  His monthly show for West Virginia Public Radio, “The Poetry Break,” began airing in January 2016.  

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.

WV Department of Education and the Arts    1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, The Culture Center,    Charleston, WV 25305
Ph: (304) 558-2440    Fx: (304) 558-1311
WV State Seal