Established in 1926, the position of poet laureate in Kentucky is currently held by Frederick Smock, who began his two year term on May 1, 2017. Smock is the author of five books of essays and five books of poetry, most recently The Bounteous World: New Poems (Broadstone Books, January 11, 2013). His work has been featured in American Poetry Review and The Writers Chronicle, and he has received the W.B. Jones Award for Creative Writing, the AL Smith Fellowship In Poetry, and the Jim Wayne Miller Prize for Poetry. Smock currently serves as Associate Professor of English at Bellarmine University.

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[ 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,

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