King to present poetry readings at D&E College

Professor pens ‘The Letting Go’

Dr. Bill King

ELKINS — A new book of poetry by Davis & Elkins College Professor of English Dr. Bill King, “The Letting Go” (Finishing Line Press), explores the deep connection between place and the individual.

King will present a reading from his book at 7 p.m. today in the Great Hall of Halliehurst on the D&E campus and at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, in Halliehurst Parlor as part of Family and Homecoming Weekend.

The poems, a combination of older and recent work, were thematically arranged into four sections and move from issues of youth and parenthood, to chronic illness, to Appalachia and the scourge of mountaintop removal. Despite the threats of cancer and big coal that give the book an elegiac tone, ultimately, these poems invite readers to celebrate family, the natural world and Appalachia, officials said.

Maggie Anderson, award-winning poet and founding editor of the Wick Poetry First Book Series, says that King “writes with the deep intelligence that knits the natural world to metaphor and gives us a usable model for how to love this mortal place even as we know we are leaving it. These poems … are healing.” And West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman notes that “these marvelous poems charged with closely observed imagery and fueled by a care-filled spirit should gain (his) poetry a deservingly wide and lasting readership.”

King emphasizes that the work is not a memoir, although it is based on personal experiences.

“The personal challenges that I have touched on in the book are the ones that make me love my family and the world more,” King said.

King dedicates the book to his wife, Beth, and their two children, Elizabeth and Walter.

The book’s cover is a photograph of a fabric art by Lisbet Okun that King received as a birthday gift.

King grew up on Lost Mountain, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, just outside of Roanoke, Virginia. He holds a M.A. in creative writing and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Georgia.

“The Letting Go” is available for purchase at the Davis & Elkins College bookstore on campus, The Delmonte Market in downtown Elkins and online at

King’s poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in “Kestrel,” “Appalachian Heritage,” “Still: The Journal,” “The Southern Poetry Anthology,” “Naugatuck River Review” and many other journals and anthologies.