Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fairmont State's Kestrel, a publication of West Virginia writers and artists, will host a benefit to establish a Scholarship for West Virginia Miners and their Dependents.

The events begin on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 11 a.m., with the opening of a Silent Auction in the Brooks Gallery of Wallman Hall. The Silent Auction will close Friday, March 3, by 7 p.m.

On Sunday, Feb. 26, at 2 p.m. in the Brooks Gallery, Kestrel will host a benefit reading by West Virginia authors. Included will be novelist Jennifer Haigh and poets John Hoppenthaler, Irene McKinney, James Harms and Mark DeFoe. Following the event there will be a reception to meet the authors in Wallman Hall's Tower Room. A donation of $5 is suggested for those attending the reading.

Many Kestrel readers will recognize authors featured in previous journals. John Hoppenthaler's poetry has appeared in many literary journals, including Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, McSweeney's, Tar River Poetry and Connecticut Review, as well as in the anthologies, "Chance Of A Ghost," "September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond" and "Wild, Sweet Notes II: More Great Poetry from West Virginia." His first book of poetry is "Lives Of Water" (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2003). Among his honors is a Fellowship Award from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. Poetry Editor of Kestrel, he is employed as personal assistant to Nobel Prize-winning author, Toni Morrison.

Mark DeFoe is Chairman of the English Department at West Virginia Wesleyan College. His poetry, which has been published in such journals as Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Christian Science Monitor, Poetry, Yale Review, Denver Quarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, Kestrel and elsewhere, has been described by Laure-Anne Bosselaar as "rich with heart, wit, eye, and ear." He is the author of six chapbooks of poetry, "Bringing Home Breakfast," "Palmate," "AIR," "Aviary" and, most recently, "The Green Chair" (Pringle Tree, 2003) and "Greatest Hits" (Pudding House Press, 2004). Among his honors are two Fellowship in Creative Writing from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

James Harms has published his work in Poetry, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review and dozens more of the best literary journals. He is the author of four books of poetry, "Modern Ocean," "The Joy Addict," "Quarters" and "Freeways & Aqueducts," all these titles from Carnegie Mellon University Press. A fifth volume, "After West," will appear in 2007. He has been awarded numerous honors, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes and Fellowships in Creative Writing from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Academy of American Poets. He teaches at West Virginia University, where he directs the Creative Writing Program and the West Virginia Writers" Workshop.

Jennifer Haigh is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, "Mrs. Kimble" in 2003, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award and which the Chicago Tribune called "beautiful, devastating, and complex," and "Baker Towers" in 2005, both titles from HarperCollins Publishers. Her short stories have appeared in Good Housekeeping, the Hartford Courant, Virginia Quarterly Review and in Kestrel, where Janet Burroway chose her story as the winner of the Kestrel Prize in Short Fiction. Originally from Barnesboro, Pa., Haigh's grandfathers were both miners. She now lives and writes on Boston's South Shore.

Irene McKinney, West Virginia's Poet Laureate since 1994, was raised on the rural West Virginia farm that has been her family's home for generations. Her five volumes of poetry include "The Girl With The Stone In Her Lap," "The Wasps at the Blue Hexagons," "Quick Fire and Slow Fire" and, most recently, "Six O'Clock Mine Report' (University of Pittsburgh Press) and "Vivid Companion" (West Virginia University Press). She has also edited the anthology "Backcountry: Contemporary Writing in West Virginia." She has been the recipient of Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. She teaches at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The Masquers production of William Wycherley's Restoration comedy "The Country Wife," in a modern adaptation by Jeffrey Ingman, will conclude the benefit events. The performances will be held March 2-4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wallman Hall Theatre. Tickets are available at the Box Office (304) 367-4240. Admission prices are: $8 general admission; $6 seniors; $4 students with ID. At these performances, donations for the scholarship will be accepted.

Those who would like to mail monetary donations to Kestrel may do so care of Kestrel, Department of Language & Literature, Fairmont State, 1201 Locust Ave., Fairmont, WV 26554.