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Frank X Walker, 2020 Recipient

A native of Danville, Kentucky, Frank X Walker is the first African American writer to be named Kentucky Poet Laureate. Walker has published ten collections of poetry, including Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers, which was awarded an NAACP Image Award for Poetry and the Black Caucus American Library Association Honor Award for Poetry. His honors also include a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry, the Denny C. Plattner Award for Outstanding Poetry in Appalachian Heritage, and the West Virginia Humanities Council’s Appalachian Heritage Award. He is also the author of Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award, and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride, which he adapted for stage. His poetry was also dramatized for the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, WV. Walker coined the term Affrilachia and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets, whose story is documented in the film Coal Black Voices. The founding editor of pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture,Walker serves as Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.


Terry R. Hummer, 2017

Kevin Young, 2015

C.D. Wright, 2013

Gerald Barrax, 2011

Claudia Emerson, 2009

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