NEWS: Marc’s prose poem, “In the Company of Heaven,” has won the 2008 Flash Fiction Contest of the on-line journal Newport Review. Its publication is forthcoming.


LOCAL JOURNEYS, Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, KY, 2004, re-printed, 2006

During the author's meditative walk through the seasons in the backcountry of West Virginia, he writes of those moments of beauty and immanence when "the breeze slows,/ the cricket quiet/ returns." This is just about as satisfying a book of poems as we can ever hope to find.

--Jared Carter

If words could save a world, Marc Harshman's Local Journeys would save the woods and small farms of Marshall County, West Virginia, where he made his home for a decade. Harshman's vision is so attuned to this landscape that, as the speaker says in "Mushrooms," he "can hardly step/ without finding." And what he finds is "the real story" of intricate connections, of "these little things that happen" that change the seasons, that make life possible. Poem by poem, we travel deeper into "a miraculous maze/ of shadow and bark" where the poet "open[s]/ the trees/ as if/ as if opening/ the rooms of paradise."

--George Ella Lyon

These rich, beautiful poems are so close to the natural world that you can almost feel the wet stones and moss on your hands and hear bird song and mountain streams in the intricate music of the lines.  Marc Harshman draws an intelligent, precise map of one small, rural place by taking as his reliable guide a love of naming --  "hay stubble," "branch-twined shadows," "khaki-plated grasshoppers," "world of wings"!

-- Maggie Anderson

Adult poems to be found on-line:

The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Issue # 7:

The Hamilton Stone Review, Fall 2008, Issue #16:

Tipton Poetry Journal, Winter 2008:Issue #8:

The Progressive, September, 2003

Samples of Children’s poetry:


While I listen
they sing
over and over
echoing --
a thousand tiny, throaty bells
tuned each to the other
with non-stop stuttering –
so many, so close,
and yet not one
to be seen
where they sing
and sing
in the green dark
of spring.


High on a ladder,
see the paint fly.
The men are up early
painting the sky.

Here since sunrise
with brushes and buckets,
the white clouds are up now
and lots more besides:

mountains of storm
and oceans of purple
with islands of sun
golden as corn.

There's lots to be done,
but finish they shall --
they do every day --
somehow before sundown
they're all gone away.


Samples adult poetry:


A fiddle tune bearing, rough-shod,
the memory of the village:
sunlight on stucco,
leaf-plastered paths in autumn,
spectral sheep
in moonlight and bracken,
the lilt of the market tongue,
ancient beyond telling.

A fiddle tune bearing, sweet as fruit,
a memory of timelessness:
candles on narrow sills
marching each night through Advent,
a bowl of rose petals, peach
and orange and crimson,
garlic and lamb simmering
in a black pan,
kisses long enough for tasting.

All have returned, just here.
Listen. They come round again.
There will be dancing, too.

-- originally published in Shenandoah


A gray bird in a red bush,
an empty stream of stones and brittle leaves,
a chittering song sung, then followed
by a silence that lifts up the sky,
lifts the sky with an echoing
that fills the world
as if the world
were no bigger than this room
and this room, porous with mystery,
and now shot with light,
becomes the place
within which I might walk
forever out of time
along a dry stream bed
behind the chittering of a bird,
this bird who,
no bigger than the palm of my hand,
seems to know the way
better than I.

-- Originally issued as a limited edition broadside from the Costmary Press, Kent, OH


Under the gum tree, smoldering with its red leaves, a deer forages in the shadows. Across the road a woman throws dishwater on the last of her roses – an old habit, unnecessary, but ingrained. She pauses, wipes her hands on her apron, looks to the west where the sun has slit a peach vein into the graying night and wonders that another day is passing. The deer lifts its head, listens. There are a few crickets yet ticking in the garden. A screech owl whinnies from the edge of the wood. The woman turns. Headlights creep around the far curve of the road. The neighbors going out for the night. She used to go out. She used to know the night as different than it is now. The deer has disappeared when she wasn’t watching. Much like life disappears. For years she persisted in believing that it was just slipping away from her, gradually, when, in fact, it was stolen on a warm night in October, ten years ago at that precise moment when she wasn’t watching.

-- originally published in Cider Press Review



The ubiquitous Guinness labels shone above the row of taps. Under the talking noise she kept clapping the beat. It cleared a little pocket of air within which she could breathe in this smoke-choked warehouse where the electric ceili band drove forward their ancient, sex-starved lyrics. They were mostly inane but occasionally humorous and once even romantic. And the stolid boy with the rosy cheeks fiddling the red accordion’s lilting green meadows? Oh, he was driving something, too. Heat ducts and water pipes knotted their way through the brick wall behind her. There was a heat knotting its way through her, as well. His solo stood out like a mirage – only she knew its shimmering for substance. My God, how those fingers staccatoed their way into the most exquisite of persuasions. She knew well the parking lot filled with muddy mirrors that lay beyond. She could skate in perfect figure 8’s on the largest one if only the red accordion could charm its sweet boy to join her, if only the moon could drop down its shamrock luck, drape its petals around their shoulders in a cape of clover summer, knit her fingers with his and so lead them across that mine field whose little skies vibrated with such enticing menace. The band continued to thunder, waves of bass-noted arterial pounding spread across the pavement. Even dinosaurs could awake under such an onslaught. She would hold his and tighter. He would understand. And when they came to the cave on the edge of eternity, he would make fire, make light, make love, and the world she had always dreamed of would be there, hovering somewhere under the red accordion he’d hung on a stake above them. It would glow like the moon. And the dinosaurs would sing like a ceili band come down from the country, lads drunk on summer and glad to be free of their stupid sheep.

-- originally published in Anemone Sidecar



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