Black Authors : Frank X Walker: Poet Laureate


Well-Known Member
Feb 28, 2009
Lexington writer Frank X Walker named Kentucky poet laureate

Published: February 14, 2013

By Mary Meehan
Lexington poet, author and teacher Frank X Walker has been named Kentucky's 2013-14 poet laureate. He is the first black writer to receive the honor.

Walker, who created the term "Affrilachia" to unify Appalachian and African-American culture and history, hopes to be a role model for kids from humble backgrounds.

"I want to remind them that books are important, developing and using their creativity is important.

Everybody is creative, they just need the tools to harness and control their creativity," said Walker, 51, who is also the youngest Kentuckian to be named poet laureate. "I grew up in the projects so I want to tell them, 'Your circumstance is not an excuse.' If you commit to something, if you work hard and have discipline, you can accomplish anything."

His appointment was announced by the Kentucky Arts Council on Thursday.

Walker, a Danville native, is the author of five collections of poetry and is an established playwright. An associate professor in the University of Kentucky's department of English, he is also the director of the African-American and Africana studies program and the head of the Affrilachian Poets movement.

As poet laureate, Walker will promote the literary arts through readings at meetings, seminars and conferences across the state throughout 2013-14.

He said he hopes to promote other Kentucky writers, specifically to advocate for requiring courses on Kentucky writers for students from elementary school to college.

Walker said he wants to point out that he "is not uncommon" and that there is a rich history of accomplished black writers in Kentucky who have made his work possible. Although he is the first black poet laureate in Kentucky, he said, "I don't want to be the last."

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