Kentucky Writers’ Day event at Spalding to feature 3 state poets laureate

Steve Jones

The Kentucky Arts Council will celebrate Kentucky Writers’ Day on Tuesday, April 24,  with an event at the Spalding Library, capping off a week of literary events around the state that recognize the Commonwealth’s literary tradition.

The Kentucky General Assembly established Kentucky Writers’ Day in 1990 to honor Kentucky’s strong literary tradition and to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren, the first poet laureate of the United States and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes.

Current Kentucky Poet Laureate Frederick Smock will be among the readers and panelists at the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Writers’ Day celebration, beginning 6 p.m. in the Spalding Library’s Kentucky Room, 853 Library Lane.

Maureen Morehead MFA faculty headshot
Maureen Morehead, Spalding MFA faculty member and past Kentucky poet laureate

Following poetry readings by Smock and former poets laureate Maureen Morehead (2011-2012) and Joe Survant (2003-2004), poet Lynnell Edwards, Spalding’s associate program director for the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, will moderate a discussion about Kentucky’s literary tradition. Morehead is a member of the Spalding MFA faculty.

As Kentucky’s literary ambassador, Smock urges all Kentuckians to celebrate Writers’ Day, no matter where they are.

“On Kentucky Writers’ Day, turn off the phone. Log off the computer. Do not turn on the television. For a few minutes, just read a poem. Let it sink in,” Smock said. “Follow where your mind goes with it, for you are the only authority on what the poem means to you.

“As with love, the feeling of having read a good poem can induce a certain inner radiance. The poem sinks in and transforms itself from words on a page to a deep interior shift. After all, we go to poetry not to find out about the poet’s life, but to find out about our own.”