Charleston, WV — Karl Dewey Myers, a Tucker County native and West Virginia’s first poet laureate, is featured in the winter issue of GOLDENSEAL magazine, on sale now. The article, titled “Remembering Karl Dewey Myers: West Virginia’s First Poet Laureate,” was written by Fort Ashby author Cindy Karelis.
Born in 1899 in the village of Moore, Tucker County, Myers was not expected to live more than a few hours due to his severe physical deformities and fragile state of health. He never learned to walk and had to be carried from place to place, Karelis related, but he excelled at his studies and became an accomplished writer at an early age.
In 1927, Governor Howard M. Gore appointed Myers West Virginia’s first poet laureate, a position Myers held for ten years. His work was highly acclaimed and was published in books and magazines both within the state and elsewhere. Myers passed away in 1951, penniless, and was buried in an unmarked grave near the Odd Fellows Home at Elkins. A flat stone monument placed there, and an upright stone memorial at the Moore cemetery in Tucker County, commemorate his life and accomplishments.
In a related story titled, “West Virginia’s Poets Laureate,” the history of the poet laureate position in the state is outlined. Myers was succeeded in 1937 by journalist and politician Roy Lee Harmon, who served nearly 41 years under ten governors. Other poets laureate include James Lowell McPherson, Vera Andrews Harvey, Louise McNeill Pease, Irene McKinney and current poet laureate, Marc Harshman.
Elsewhere in this edition are stories about friendship quilts in Marion County, early 1900s Nicholas County woods camp photography, a century-old costume shop in Wheeling, and Logan County musician and public safety coordinator Roger Bryant.
GOLDENSEAL is West Virginia’s magazine of traditional life and is published quarterly by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston. The magazine sells for $5.95 and is available at Mainline Books in Elkins, at Blackwater Falls State Park, or by calling (304)558-0220, ext. 134; on-line at www.wvculture.org/goldenseal.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, art, historic preservation and museums. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.