By Tamara Coffey
April is Kentucky Writers’ Day Month. I know, I know, grammatically speaking, that’s just wrong, but why should we limit our celebration of Kentucky writers to only one day? After all, it is National Poetry Month, and Kentucky has been blessed with an abundance of gifted writers of all sorts—poets, playwrights, journalists, memoirists, biographers, bloggers, children’s and young adult writers and writers of creative nonfiction and literary and genre fiction (and others I’ve missed, no doubt). The literary waters in Kentucky overflow their banks more often than the Kentucky River, so why not celebrate Kentucky Writers’ Day Month?
The Kentucky Arts Council will host Kentucky Writers’ Day, a celebration of all Kentucky writers, Friday, April 24, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern time, in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. Writers and other lovers of words will gather to welcome the newest Kentucky poet laureate, George Ella Lyon, a writer of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and plays. She will be joined by past Kentucky poets laureate Richard Taylor, Joe Survant, Sena Jeter Naslund, Gurney Norman, Maureen Morehead and Frank X Walker. All will read from their original work, a treat for all bibliophiles and bookworms — the chance to hear writers read their own words.
In case you’re curious, April 24 was chosen as Kentucky Writers’ Day because it is the birthday of Robert Penn Warren, a poet, novelist and literary critic from Guthrie in Todd County. Penn is the only writer to have received a Pulitzer Prize in fiction (“All the King’s Men”) and poetry (“Promises: Poems 1954-1956” and “Now and Then”). He was named the first U.S. poet laureate back in 1986. Prior to 1986 there was a Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, and guess what — Robert Penn Warren was named as the third consultant in 1944. The second consultant was Allen Tate from Winchester, Ky. Oh yeah, Kentucky literary waters run deep!
Are you ready to dip your toes into the eddy of poetry and literature? Here’s a sampling of websites that feature writings of and readings by writers from Kentucky and elsewhere to tide you over:
Kentucky Writers’ Day readings
Library of Congress readings
Library of Congress Archive of Poetry and Literature
The Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Archive
Poetry Out Loud
National Poetry Month April 2015
Maybe you’ll want to wade in by taking the Kentucky Arts Council’s Writers’ Day Challenge. Simply post on Facebook that you are accepting the challenge from @KentuckyArtsCouncil, add a few lines of your own writing and include the hashtag #kywritersday.
Or just dive into Kentucky Writers’ Day by joining us in the Capitol Rotunda at 10 a.m. this Friday. Can’t make it to Frankfort? Make your own Writers’ Day celebration by inviting your friends, coworkers and others to share their original writing or excerpts of their favorite Kentucky literature and poetry. Don’t hesitate, you only have until the end of next week to be a part of Kentucky Writers’ Day Month.