Poetry

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Poet Irene McKinney was born in Belington in Barbour County on April 20, 1939. She earned degrees from West Virginia Wesleyan College and West Virginia University and, in 1976, published her first book of poems, The Girl with the Stone in Her Lap. She served as director of creative writing at West Virginia Wesleyan and, in 1984, published another poetry collection entitled The Wasps and the Blue Hexagon.  The next year, she won a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and other prestigious honors.

Raised in Covington, Virginia, and Hinton West Virginia, Jeff Mann is an author of novels, essays, short fiction, a memoir, and poems. 

A significant portion of his work examines the LGBTQ experience, especially as witnessed in Appalachia. He’s won many awards for his work including a Rainbow Award for Purgatory: A Novel of the Civil War, as well as the John Preston Short Fiction Award and many others. 

Mann is currently associate professor in creative writing at Virginia Tech.

Cornell Chronicle

Robert Morgan is a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Essayist, novelist, teacher, short-story author, poet, and “an unassuming gentleman and a friend to artists everywhere,” Harshman said. His novel Gap Creek was a selection of the Oprah Book Club and a New York Times Best Seller.

April 7, 1981: Poet Roy Lee Harmon Dies at 80

Apr 7, 2016
Roy Lee Harmon
West Virginia Division of Culture and History

Poet Roy Lee Harmon died on April 7, 1981, at age 80. The founder of the West Virginia Poetry Society, Harmon was born in Boone County, grew up in Danville, and graduated from Scott District School. He attended Morris Harvey College, which is now the University of Charleston, before becoming a reporter and eventually city editor for the Raleigh Register newspaper in Beckley.

On this West Virginia Morning, a physics professor thinks he has found a better way to tell when food is fresh and he’s taking it to the market.

Kate Long

West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman delivers the poetry of his predecessor in this Poetry Break. Irene McKinney was a remarkable woman, greatly admired as a poet and teacher, " Harshman said. "She was the kind of poet who could accomplish in a few seconds that deep trust with her readers that compel them to follow her words." 

Robert Gipe

This week's episode of Inside Appalachia is addressed as a Valentine letter to Appalachia. Like most loves, this one is complicated. Some of the folks we spoke to for our show grew up in the mountains and were eager to move away. But when they did, they felt a strong homesickness that seemed to draw them back. They said their love for Appalachia is for a place that isn’t quite perfect. But they were inspired to write about it. Listen to the show to hear what they had to say.

West Virginia University Press is set to publish West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman's latest collection of poetry: Believe What You Can in October 2016. And the publishers are looking for help in choosing a cover for the book.

Andrew Croft

A new podcast from West Virginia Public Broadcasting features poets from Appalachia and around the world. The Poetry Break is hosted and curated by West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman.

Harshman delivers poems and commentary, and the first episode features some of his own work from Green-Silver and Silent , and published by Bottom Dog Press (2012), and the forthcoming Believe What You Can to be published by Vandalia Press of West Virginia University in 2016.

Shepherd University

Poet and activist Nikki Giovanni  loves several things about Appalachia: its defense of freedom, and how the people here know when enough is enough in regards to material wealth.

Perhaps not surprisingly, West Virginia’s poet laureate, Marc Harshman, seems to thinks so.

He’s been collaborating with several organizations, including West Virginia Public Broadcasting, to conceive of new events that will bring more poetry to the daily lives of West Virginians.


courtesy Kaitlen Whitt

How do the wordsmiths of today describe Appalachians? The people who don't let a day go by without putting down on paper a song, or a rhyme, or a tale that they just had to get off their chest? What kind of worlds do they create in their writings?

 

Hear the latest radio special in honor of National Poetry Month Thursday, April 24 at 9 p.m. 

In addition to being a public radio host, Al Letson is also a poet, playwright, and actor.

In this hour-long program,  Letson will explore all facets of poetry. Poets from all over the country will speak about the craft, the lifestyle, and the resurgence of poems.

Ben Adducchio / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

April is Celebrating Poetry Month across the nation. West Virginia’s had a great many poets find success, including Irene McKinney, Linda Goodman, and Tom Andrews. But there’s a young man from Fairmont who’s now also making a name for himself in the field of poetry.

Ian Williams is a 21 year old college student at Fairmont State University. He studies English Education and he dreams of becoming a college professor at some point during his life. But before that, he’s finding success as a poet. Williams recently won a national Poetry Award, in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies College/University Level Poetry Competition. Ian was one of two first place winners. He says he first got interested in poetry as a high school student in Fairmont.

After some controversial vetoes from Gov. Tomblin, lawmakers, academics and citizens a like arequestioning the balance of power in West Virginia's Constitution and a 21-year-old Fairmont native is making a name for himself on the national poetry scene.

A.J. Lawson / WVU School of Journalism

The nation’s first and only building memorializing African American veterans of WWI is located in Kimball, W.Va. and Thursday evening a celebration of Black History Month will take place there that highlights the work of two previously unrecognized poets from the era.

The two poets were sisters from Beckley who at age 17 and 18 attended the West Virginia Colored Institute, which is now West Virginia State College. An 83 page hard back book featuring their poetry was published in 1919.

Discovering the Book

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia University Chief Diversity Officer David Fryson remembers Charleston social activist Leon Sullivan, WVU begins a partnership with a University in China to promote exchanges in language, culture and business,  and Beckley actress, playwright, and historian Karen Vuranch reads "Christmas in the Appalachian Mountains" by Richard Madison.

Celebrating Irene McKinney, Sept. 15, 2013

Sep 27, 2013
Poet Irene McKinney
West Virginia and Regional History Collection, WVU Libraries

Irene McKinney was West Virginia's Poet Laureate until her death in 2012. 

The West Virginia Library Commission is hoping folks across the state will read Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X. Walker’s book Affrilachia.  The book is this year’s choice for the One Book, One West Virginia program.

During an appearance at the Martinsburg Berkeley County Public Library Wednesday morning Walker read Clifton 1, the first poem in the book. It tells the story of Walker and his father visiting Clifton, Ky., where his father grew up.

Linda Powers
Jean Snedegar

On this West Virginia Morning, medical marijuana is the topic of discussion during legislative interims, Affrilachian poet Frank X Walker and the final preview of this season's 'Inspiring West Virginians.'

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