In the summer of 2017, Marc Harshman, the Poet-Laureate of West Virginia and Doug Van Gundy, award-winning poet and musician, traveled to the coal-mining region of south Wales, in the UK to meet, hear and read with Welsh poets whose work addresses many of the same issues that Harshman and Van Gundy frequently write about: labor, connection to place, the environmental and human impact of extractive industry, and the redemptive beauty of the hills.
Utilizing the traditional Appalachian arts of old-time music, storytelling and poetry, Harshman and Van Gundy will present a unique program grounded in the geo-mythos of the mountain state of West Virginia. The program weaves some of West Virginia’s oldest traditional fiddle music with original contemporary poetry representing the concerns and joys of this resilient land and its people.
The program will appeal to those interested in cultural studies, literature, traditional music, and the cultural connection to the British Isles that is part of the pastiche that is Appalachian culture. Having debuted the original program in West Virginia and subsequently in the UK, Harshman and Van Gundy are eager to bring it back to share this, their passionate homage to WV to a wider Appalachian audience and present it to the members of the Appalachian Studies Association.