Marc Harshman

poet laureate icon
Poet Laureate of West Virginia, 2012-

Marc Harshman holds degrees from Bethany College, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Pittsburgh. He has also received honorary doctorates from Bethany College and West Liberty University.

Harshman’s most recent full-length collection of poems, Believe What You Can (Vandalia Press, 2016), was the winner of the 2017 Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association. Additionally, he is the author of four chapbooks, including Rose of Sharon (Mad River Press, 1999). 

Harshman is also a children’s book author. His fourteenth children’s book Fallingwater (2017), about Frank Lloyd Wright’s house, was cowritten with Anna Smucker and published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan.  Harshman’s children’s books have been published in Danish, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Swedish. His book Only One (Cobblehill Books, 1993) became a Reading Rainbow review title on PBS, and The Storm (Dutton Juvenile, 1995) 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.

Harshman was the recipient of a West Virginia Arts Commission Fellowship in Poetry in 2000 and the Fellowship in Children’s Literature in 2008. In 1994, he received the Ezra Jack Keats/Kerlan Memorial Fellowship from the University of Minnesota for research on Scandinavian myth and folklore. His monthly show for West Virginia Public Radio, The Poetry Break, began airing in January 2016.  

For many years, Harshman taught fifth and sixth grades at the Sand Hill School, one of the last of the three-room country schools. Harshman was named the West Virginia State English Teacher of the Year by the West Virginia English Language Arts Council in 1995. Appointed in 2012, he is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.