Established in 1926, the poet laureate position in Kentucky is held by Frank X Walker, who will serve from 2013 to 2014. Walker is the author of five poetry collections, including Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride (Old Cove Press, 2010), Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York (University Press of Kentucky, 2004), which won the Lillian Smith Book Award in 2004; and Affrilachia (Old Cove Press, 2000). A 2005 recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry, Walker is cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets. He currently serves as an associate professor in the Department of English and director of the African American and Africana studies program at the University of Kentucky.


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One woman drives across five states just to see her. The woman being driven to has no idea anyone's headed her way. The driving woman crosses three bridges & seven lakes just to get to her door. She stops along the highway, wades into the soggy ground, cuts down coral-eyed cattails, carries them to her car as


to Ken Kesey & Ken Babbs

Clumsy at first, fitting together
the years we have been apart,
and the ways.

But as the night
passed and the day came, the first
fine morning of April,

it came clear:
the world that has tried us
and showed us its joy

was our bond
when we said nothing

[ A ]

Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.

I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse.  I heard them.

I did not know what was happening in my heart.

It was the season before the elderberry blooms,