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Clara Haizlett

Folkways Reporter

Clara Haizlett of Bethany, W.Va., is a multimedia storyteller inspired by folklife, cross-cultural dialogue and the natural world. She stumbled upon the world of storytelling somewhat accidentally.

During her final year at West Virginia University, she started a podcast as a fun "side project.” But from the very beginning, it was clear that podcasting would not be a “side project.” She was hooked, entirely spellbound by the art of storytelling. Since then, she's shifted her career to journalism, producing work for outlets like PBS, Smithsonian Folklife, and Virginia Public Media.

Person Page
  • An old mansion in Beckley, West Virginia is the set of a new feature-length comedy. It’s a grassroots passion project for two Beckley filmmakers and a cast that’s almost entirely composed of West Virginians.
  • Mothman's been sighted again in West Virginia. And he's looking for a meal. He's part of a new board game that features cryptids and local West Virginia food. Jared Kaplan and Chris Kincaid of Beckley, West Virginia created the game called “Hungry for Humans.”
  • Moorefield, West Virginia, is home to about 3,300 people — about one in 10 are immigrants. That includes a small community from Eritrea and Ethiopia. Many of them work at the chicken processing plant in town, Pilgrim’s Pride. The hours there are long and don’t leave much time for socializing. Still, members of that East African community continue to practice a tradition they’ve brought from home: the coffee ceremony. Folkways reporter Clara Haizlett brings us this story, with help from former West Virginia state folklorist Emily Hilliard.
  • With Spanglish lyrics, the pluck of a banjo and strum of a guitarra de son, music by Charlottsville’s Lua Project is hard to place. The band defines its sound as “Mexilachian”—a blend of Appalachian old-time and Mexican folk music. But Lua members said their music also draws on Jewish and Eastern European traditions, with a dash of baroque and Scots-Irish influence. Inside Appalachia Folkways reporter Clara Haizlett caught up with a couple members of the band at their home in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • Appalachia boasts some of the wildest rivers on the East Coast, including the Gauley, the Youghiogheny, and the New River. And though whitewater paddling is now popular in the region, it wasn’t long ago that paddlers first started exploring these rivers, designing their own gear and even building their own paddles. Inside Appalachia Folkways Corps Reporter Clara Haizlett spoke with some of these DIY paddle makers about their love for the craft and perhaps more importantly — their love for the water.
  • Throughout Appalachia, many communities share a common concern: As the young people leave and the older generations pass on, who will carry on the traditions?But in Wheeling, West Virginia, one young man, Dalton Haas, is determined to reverse this trend. He’s committed to bringing his community home, to the sound of church bells and the smells of homemade cooking.