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 Looking For Ireland: An Irish-Appalachian Pilgrimage was published in 2017. 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 magical Ireland—was released in 2013, and Night Terrors, a short story prequel to The Silver Tattoo, was published as an ebook 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 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, speech, drama, and English in both West Virginia and Kentucky, and often moonlighted as an adjunct professor at Marshall University.


In 1994 I won a Fellowship Award for Literature from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and studied with Irish poets at the Dublin Writing Workshop in Ireland. I was awarded a work/study grant from the Vermont Studio Center to study with Carol Frost and earned a partial scholarship to the Catskill Poetry Workshop in Oneonta, New York. In 1997 I studied with Billy Collins at the Galway Poetry Workshop in Galway, Ireland, and in 1998 I collaborated with a classical guitarist and a photographer to create Passage: a reader's theater production which I wrote and performed in the Culture Center in Charleston, West Virginia.  My poem “The Quiet Zone: Green Bank Observatory” was selected and featured on  posters available for purchase at the Green Bank Observatory.

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 Culture 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 honored to read my poetry with the legendary 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 First Place for the 2010 Poetic Arts "Best Collaboration Award" along 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. I read my poetry in Marietta, Ohio, at the Riverside Artists Gallery on September 2 as part of their "Poetry in Art" exhibit. In 2017 my poetry was included in the anthology Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia published by West Virginia University Press as well as in Voices of Unity: Coming Together, Falling Apart published by Mountain State Press. In 2018 I am pleased to be a featured author once again at the Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio. 


The New York Quarterly

Poetry Ireland Review (Ireland)


The Stinging Fly (Ireland)

Antietam Review




Now & Then



Quilt World


Crannog (Ireland)

Art Times

Eureka Literary Magazine


Space and Time

Appalachian Journal

Green Bank Observatory

Blue Violin

California Quarterly

The Dickinsonian

Ellipsis: Literature and Art

Small Pond


Controlled Burn

Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel

Backbone Mountain Review

10X3 plus


Grey Sparrow Journal

WV Living magazine

Connotation Press

Neologism Poetry Journal & many others.


*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 Weep

*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

*Hamilton Stone Review

*The Southern Poetry Anthology

*Fed From The Blade


*Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods

*Voices on Unity: Coming Together, Falling Apart


*Fellowship Award for Literature in 1994 from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts

*Finalist in International Award section of the Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, 1996, ‘97, and ‘98

*Work/Study Grant from the Vermont Studio Center, 1994.

*Partial Scholarship to Catskill Poetry Workshop, 1995.

*Numerous awards in poetry at the WV Writers annual competition

*Two poems featured on Poetry Daily

*Poem featured on A Prairie Home Companion website

*First Place 2010 Best Collaboration "Poetic Art" Workhouse Arts Center

*Writer in Residence for the Marshall University Writing Project from 2007-2010.

*Poem featured on Oprah’s website by O Magazine

*Creative Writing instructor at the 2013 West Virginia Governor's School for the Arts.

Recent posts from the Open Mic blog: