Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker to Give Reading Jan. 28
Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 [12:53 PM]
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker
will give a reading Tuesday night at Lindsey Wilson
Walker will speak at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Jan. 28,
in the W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall. His reading is
free and open to the public.
Walker is a co-founder of the Affrilachian poets, and he is for creating the
term "Affrilachia," which is used to describe
African-American culture in Appalachian regions.
"My definition of Affrilachian is married to people
of color not included in traditional narratives and definitions of
Appalachia even though they may inhabit the same or similar
geographical space. I see heritage and race as equal influences,"
Walker has dedicated his life to educating others
about his craft and the history of his culture.
"I think the negative caricatures and stereotypes
of the region have driven people's negative perceptions of the
region," he said. "I believe a broader cultural definition that
included Negro League Baseball, August Wilson, Nina Simone, Roberta
Flack, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bill Withers, Henry Louis Gates
and others would allow people to celebrate the positives. My poetry
reflects family, social justice, identity, place and
While seeing himself as a truth teller and
observer, Walker's writing often draws on his own
"My writing is often fairly autobiographical. I at
least draw from what I know even when writing fiction," he said.
"Some of my most defining moments from childhood include learning
to read, getting my first pair of glasses and time spent on the
Walker is the author of four poetry
collections: When Winter Come: The Ascension of
York (University Press of Kentucky, 2008);
Black Box (Old Cove Press,
2005); Buffalo Dance: The Journey of
York (University Press of Kentucky, 2003), which
won the Lillian Smith Book Award in 2004; and
Affrilachia (Old Cove Press,
A 2005 recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship
in Poetry, Walker is also writer in residence and lecturer of
English at Northern Kentucky University, and he is editor and
publisher of PLUCK!, a journal
of Affrilachian art and culture.
Installed as Kentucky's poet laureate for 2013-14 by Gov.
Steve Beshear, Walker is responsible for promoting literary arts
and leading statewide literary events. Although Walker may be best
known as a writer, he is also very much a teacher.
"I don't think that I have reached a point where
I've decided that writing is what I want to spend the rest of my
life on. I certainly hope to write the rest of my life, but
teaching is my first love," he said. "And when I grow up I'd like
to make movies."
LWC Library Services Director Phil Hanna, who chairs the committee
responsible for bringing Walker to campus, said the poet laureate
brings literature to life.
"The co-curricular cultural events, seen in visits
by persons like Frank X Walker, provide exposure to voices that had
not previously been identified, in this case, that of black
Appalachia," Hanna said. "What you learn in class comes to life
when you hear real people talk about a tradition that they are part
of. It is also important to see examples of what society recognizes
as persons of achievement.
"In the past, when we've had regional writers, I
always observe students speaking to them after their presentation
indicating they have things they would like to write about from
their youth. If Frank X Walker can do it, perhaps I can as well.
Within the Lindsey Writes project, it also exposes students to
persons for whom writing is their livelihood."