About Laura Treacy Bentley

I am a poet, a novelist, and the former book editor for WV Living magazine. Poetry is my first love, but writing fiction is my newest love. My latest book was just published in March 2017: Looking For Ireland: An Irish-Appalachian Pilgrimage. It's a chapbook/artist's book filled with my poems and color photographs. My first novel The Silver Tattoo—a psychological thriller set in mythical Ireland—was released in 2013, and Night Terrors, a short story prequel to The Silver Tattoo, was published in 2015. My first book of poetry, Lake Effect, was published in 2006.

I was born in Hagerstown, Maryland, but have lived most of my life in Huntington, West Virginia. Today, I divide my time between the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland. I like to tell people that I received my "MFA" from RU (Rogue University) because I belonged to a fabulous fiction writing group called The Rogues.

I attended public schools in Maryland and West Virginia and received my undergraduate degree in Speech and English and a master's degree in Gifted Education from Marshall University. While at Marshall, I acted in numerous university theatre productions. My fondest childhood memories include carrying home stacks of books to read from the public library, speed-reading comic books at the Greyhound Bus Station, and swimming at the Olympic Pool. 


My husband and I have three grown children. I taught gifted students in West Virginia and speech, drama, and English in both West Virginia and Kentucky, often moonlighting as an adjunct professor at Marshall University.


In 1992 I studied with Irish poets at the Dublin Writing Workshop in Ireland. I was awarded a work/study grant in 1994 from the Vermont Studio Center to study with Carol Frost and received a Fellowship Award for Literature from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. In 1995 I was given a partial scholarship to the Catskill Poetry Workshop in Oneonta, New York, and later studied with Billy Collins at the Galway Poetry Workshop in Galway, Ireland. In May of 1998 I collaborated with a classical guitarist and a photographer to create Passage: a reader's theatre production which I wrote and performed in the State Theatre in Charleston, West Virginia.

The Rogues, Summer 2004

Top: Paul Martin, Marie LManilla, John VanKirk, & me 

Bottom: Shannon Butler & Zoe Ferraris

I completed a four-week writing residency in County Clare, Ireland, and read my poetry in Dublin at the Irish Writers Centre in June of 2000. Two of my poems were represented in a touring art exhibit, For Letter and Verse, at the Cultural Center in Charleston, West Virginia. I was a featured writer at a literary symposium, Appalachians: Contemporary Cultural Perspective in September 2003 (Kennedy Museum of Art, Athens, Ohio) and co-taught a week of creative writing at Allegheny Echoes (Marlinton, West Virginia) in June 2004.

In 2003 I was privileged to read my poetry with Ray Bradbury in Venice, California. Two of my poems, "For Joel"  and "Dowsing" were featured on Poetry Daily, and another, "Drinking Coffee at the Central City Café," can be found on the A Prairie Home Companion website. I won the 2010 Poetic Arts "Best Collaboration Award" with photographer, Sharon Kennedy at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia. One of my poems, "Keepsake," was chosen by guest editor Maria Shriver and the editors of O Magazine and is featured on Oprah's website. I served as writer in residence for three years at the Marshall University Writing Project and taught creative writing in 2013 at the West Virginia Governor's School for the Arts. In August 2016, I was a featured author at the Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio, and will be reading this September at the Ohio River Festival of the Book in Huntington, West Virginia. I will also be reading in Marietta, Ohio, at the Riverside Artists Gallery on September 2 as part of their "Poetry in Art" exhibit. In 2017 my poetry will be included in Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia a new anthology published by West Virginia University Press.

Laura's work has appeared in publications in both Ireland and the United States:

The New York Quarterly

Poetry Ireland Review


The Stinging Fly (Ireland)

Antietam Review




Now & Then



Crannog (Ireland)

Art Times

Eureka Literary Magazine


Space and Time

Appalachian Journal

Ellipsis: Literature and Art

Small Pond

Controlled Burn

Backbone Mountain Review

10X3 plus


Grey Sparrow Journal

WV Living magazine


Getting The Knack: Twenty Poetry Writing Exercises, co-authored by William Stafford and Stephen Dunning

A Gathering at the Forks

The Guyandotte Poets I

Weeping With Those Who


Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry

Appalachian Love Stories

Crossing Troublesome: 25 Years of the Appalachian Writers Workshop

Tobacco: A Literary Anthology

Family Matters: Poems of Our Families

Coal; Seeking the Swan

Motif: Writing by Ear

The Southern Poetry Anthology

Fed From The Blade

Recent posts from the Open Mic blog: