West Virginia University Press has published Believe What You Can: Poems by Marc Harshman.

This collection of poetry by West Virginia’s poet laureate explores the difficulty of living with an awareness of the eventual death of all living things. Each of its four sections suggests a coping mechanism for this inevitable predicament, from storytelling, to accepting darkness and death as a creative force, to enjoying disruption and chaos, and finally to embracing the mystery of life as the most triumphant story of all.

These difficulties come “not quite haphazardly” and not without a “last light” – something “beyond” and as “sweet as apples.” With these moments of grace, Harshman taps into the satisfying richness that comes from unexpected revelations, helping us rise above the fragile recesses of life and death, all while portraying the lost rural worlds of the Midwest and Appalachia in ways untouched by sentiment or nostalgia.

Maggie Anderson, author of Windfall: New and Selected Poems and Dear All says “to enter this work is to remain open to the haphazard, the lopsided, the fragile, and the bracing details that tell our times as we both know and fear them. Believe What You Can is an astonishing and generous book that gives a credible ‘map of true witness.’”

Ron Houchin, author of The Man Who Saws Us In Half: Poems notes, “Believe What You Can overflows with rich lines and vivid images, as the poet laureate of West Virginia speaks to classic concerns of loving the land, struggling to thrive, and holding on to what can be believed.”

Marc Harshman is the poet laureate of West Virginia. He is the author of Green-Silver and Silent and Rose of Sharon. His thirteen highly acclaimed children’s books include The Storm, a Smithsonian Notable Book. He is the host of The Poetry Break, a monthly show for West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Publication date: September 2016
114pp/PB 978-1-943665-22-8: $16.99/epub 978-1-943665-23-5: $16.99

Public appearances:

Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 7pm, Morgantown, WV
The Black Bear Club Reading Series presents Marc Harshman, Marie Manilla, and Jessie van Eerden
Venue: 123 Pleasant Street, 123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, WV 26505

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016 at 7pm, Charleston, WV
Creators Talk with WV State Poet Laureate Marc Harshman
Venue: Economic Development Center at West Virginia State University, 1506 Kanawha Blvd. West, Charleston, WV 25387

Monday, September 26, 2016 at 6 pm, Moundsville, WV
Reading and Discussion with Marc Harshman
Venue: Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library, 700 5th St, Moundsville, WV 26041

Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 12pm, Parkersburg, WV
Reading and Discussion with Marc Harshman
Venue: National Society of Arts & Letters, Parkersburg Country Club, 4910 1st Ave, Vienna, WV 26105

Friday, October 28, 2016 at 6pm, Charleston, WV
Taylor Books presents Marc Harshman and Randi Ward
Venue: Taylor Books, 226 Capitol St, Charleston, WV 25301

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 12pm, Wheeling, WV
Lunch with Books with Marc Harshman
Venue: Ohio County Public Library, 52 16th St, Wheeling, WV 26003

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CONTACT: Abby Freeland, sales and marketing director at West Virginia University Press
304.293.6188, abby.freeland@mail.wvu.edu

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