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OCPL Recognizes West Virginia's Poets for National Poetry Month

Posted 04/20/22

OCPL Recognizes West Virginia's Poets for National Poetry Month

The Ohio County Public Library is proud to recognize the poets of West Virginia, in addition to our national and global poets, for their art and all they add to enrich our community. We welcome you to join the OCPL in discovering more about West Virginia's poets and exploring the art of poetry yourself. The OCPL is proud to offer many titles of local and state poets within our collection.

The following titles are available at the Ohio County Public Library from West Virginia poets, along with many others. Click the links below each author's section to place a hold on any of these titles or explore other titles in our catalog.


Book Cover - Believe What You CanBelieve What You Can: Poems

Author: Marc Harshman - West Virginia Poet Laureate

Description: "This collection of poetry by West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman explores the difficulty of living with an awareness of the eventual death of all living things"-- Provided by publisher.

About the Author: Harshman’s fourteenth children’s book, FALLINGWATER, co-written with Anna Smucker, was published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan in 2017 and has been an Amazon Book of the Month choice, as well as a Junior Library Guild selection.  A previous title, THE STORM, was a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children.  Children’s books have been translated into Danish, Korean, Swedish, Spanish, and Japanese. His latest collection of poems, WOMAN IN RED ANORAK, won the 2017 Blue Lynx Prize and was published by Lynx House/University of Washington Press in 2018. His poetry collection, BELIEVE WHAT YOU CAN,  published in 2016 by West Virginia University Press, won the Weatherford Award from the Appalachian Studies Association. It was also named the Appalachian Book of the Year by the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival in Tennessee.  Poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, SPM Publications [London], and the University of Arizona. He has also just been named the co-winner of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award for this poem, “Poet in the Schools.”

Marc Harshman in conversation with Neil Gaiman at the WV Book Festival 2015.
He holds degrees from Bethany College, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Pittsburgh. In the spring of 2016 he was an invited reader at the Greenwich Book Festival in London and recently returned from performing with Doug Van Gundy a show titled, Running with Whiskey, highlighting poetry, music, and storytelling at the Red House Arts Centre in Wales.  Appointed in 2012, he is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.

Harshman’s newest collection of poems, THE SHADOW TESTIMONIES, has just been scheduled for publication by the Irish publisher, Salmon Press, in County Clare, Republic of Ireland.


Book CoverDementia Americana: Poems

Author: Keith Maillard

Description: As the title implies, Dementia Americana is about the craziness of America. In what he describes as "the most personal writing I have ever done," Keith Maillard meditates upon the implications for private life of the two most bizarre wars of our time: the Gulf War and the Vietnam War. Working within traditional closed forms, but stretching them to their limits, Maillard recreates the effect of the past and the persistence of dream in the public arena.

About the Author: Keith Maillard is the author of thirteen novels and one book of poetry. He has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Literary Prize and the Governor General's Literary Awards. The Clarinet Polka was awarded the Creative Arts Prize by the Polish American Historical Association. Dementia Americana, won the Gerald Lampert Award in 1995 for the Best First Book of Poetry Published in Canada.
Keith was born and raised in Wheeling, West Virginia, the inspiration for the fictional town of Raysburg, which serves as the setting for many of his novels. He has been a musician, a contributor for CBC Radio, a freelance photographer, and a journalist. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia. 


Book CoverFrom Darkness to Eastering

Author: Dr. Bonnie B. Thurston

Description: This is a book about how, on a cosmic and a personal level, darkness gives way to light. It does not sugar-coat the reality of darkness but is full of hope, reminding voyagers that "light shines in the darkness', that darkness is required to perceive light-and that Easter means the light has come, life triumphs, and the promised Holy Spirit will empower us for growth:' eastering"

About the Author: Bonnie Thurston, a native of southern West Virginia, currently lives quietly near Wheeling, WV having resigned the professorship and chair in New Testament studies at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She earned the B.A. in English (First Honors) from Bethany College, and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Virginia. Dr. Bonnie Thurston is the author of over twenty books.

LWB Bonnie Thurston ProgramRelated Upcoming Program: Lunch with Books: Not Sonnets: Observations from an Ordinary Life with Dr. Bonnie Thurston

May 31, 2022 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm

For years Dr. Bonnie Thurston has written short poems that focus on a single image or one revelatory idea. They were not sonnets, but were all fourteen lines long. The great sonneteers wrote sequences, often several on one topic, and in this Bonnie Thurston follows in their footsteps. The poems lead the reader on a gentle journey from home as they move through seasons in a sequence focusing on daily experiences that, in the words of Wordsworth, are “reflected in tranquility.” In these insightful, honed, and precise poems you will discover the extraordinariness of the ordinary life and, mirabile dictu, wisdom. This is a collection to savour.


Book CoverLine Study of a Motel Clerk

Author: Allison Pitinii Davis

Description: "Two families immigrate to America's Steel Valley and open a trucking motel and a laundry. The businesses change hands through three generations as the region's industry booms and busts. When the two disparate families become one, the new generation must examine what it means to endure in a place, a culture, a language, and a history. Line Study of a Motel Clerk examines a family's century-long effort to make a home in a world on the move."



Book CoverLuscious Struggle

Author: Carrie Conners

Description: ''The poems are at turns funny and sad, profound and playful. . . . There are . . . poems whose strength relies . . . on a close observation of the everyday as seen through the dual lens of heartache and blue-collar struggle. I must admire, as well, her understated humor in a poem like Sex Ed and the strikingly macabre whimsy of a poem like Ambulance Driver. It is an astonishing first collection holding both power and promise.''Marc Harshman, Poet Laureate of West Virginia back cover.

About the Author: Carrie Conners, originally from West Virginia, lives in Queens, NY and is a Professor of English at LaGuardia CC-CUNY. Her first book Luscious Struggle, published by BrickHouse Books, is a 2020 Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Her second book, Species of Least Concern, is forthcoming from Main Street Rag (2022). Her poetry has appeared in Quiddity, Little Patuxent Review, Kestrel, RHINO, and The Monarch Review, among other publications. She is also a poetry reader for Epiphany. 


Book CoverThe Letting Go

Author: Dr. Bill King

Description:  "In this book I am continually struck by King's remarkable attention to detail: "the barbed wire / that stitched the hem / of old man Warner's field..." or a robin that "runs upright like a butler, / then bends, as if bowing..." Such wonderful imagery is harnessed not only to reveal the natural world, however, but the ins and outs of raising children, the challenges of illness, and what it means to bear witness to tragedy. There are, for instance, powerful poems here describing the horrific devastation wrought by mountain-top removal mining, poems whose testimony is deeply moving. These marvelous poems charged with closely-observed imagery and fueled by such a care-filled spirit should gain for Bill King's poetry a deservingly wide and lasting readership. -Marc Harshman, West Virginia Poet Laureate and the 2016 Weatherford Award Winner for Poetry for his book Believe What You Can. Bill King's poems are so precisely enacted that to read them is to feel our thighs pumping bike petals, to surge with the jonquils breaking spring soil. He writes with the deep intelligence that knits the natural world to metaphor and gives us a usable model for how to love this mortal place even as we know we are leaving it. I admire these poems very much. They are healing; they "carry the wounded skyward." -Maggie Anderson, author of five books of poetry, including Dear All, the winner of the Best Small Press Books of 1979 for The Great Horned Owl, and the founding editor of the Wick Poetry First Book Series." -- Publisher's website.

About the Author: Dr. King has been awarded the Lois Latham Award for Teaching Excellence at Davis & Elkins College. The award is presented annually to an outstanding D&E educator who is characterized by a distinguished intellectual career; enthusiasm for scholarship and intellectual curiosity; and, most importantly, by evidence that it is his or her professional calling to nurture the intellectual and personal growth of others. Nominations for the award are submitted by faculty, staff and students. He has also received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Sigma Alpha Phi, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and was a West Virginia Professor of the Year Nominee (Faculty Merit Foundation, 2015).

Dr. King is a Pushcart Prize nominee who has published his poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction in many journals and anthologies, including 100 Word Story, Heartwood, Columbia Journal, Still: The Journal, Poecology, Kestrel, Appalachian Heritage, Naugatuck Review, Southern Poetry Anthology (Texas Review Press), Mountains Piled Upon Mountains: Appalachian Nature Writing in the Anthropocene (WVU Press), and Stone River Sky: Anthology of Georgia Poetry (Negative Capability Press): About Place Journal. His first chapbook of poetry, from Finishing Line Press, is The Letting Go (2018). Dr. King has also published critical essays on two United States Poet Laureates, Robert Penn Warren (Mississippi Quarterly) and Robert Hass (Encyclopedia of American Literature).



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