Kentucky Writers’ Day, poet laureate induction is April 24 in Frankfort
FRANKFORT, Ky. — “Then you step out into footlight’s / dazzle all hope and high hearts.” Those two lines from Lexington writer George Ella Lyon’s poem “Debut” are appropriate as she steps into the spotlight to be inducted as Kentucky’s poet laureate at 10 a.m. April 24, in the Capitol Rotunda as part of Kentucky Writers’ Day.
Kentucky Writers’ Day is an annual event, organized by the Kentucky Arts Council, that celebrates the Commonwealth’s strong literary history. It is observed on the birth date of Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren, the first poet laureate of the United States and winner of three Pulitzer Prizes.
“I look forward to welcoming writers from all across the Commonwealth to Frankfort to celebrate George Ella Lyon’s induction as poet laureate,” said Gov. Steve Beshear, who appointed Lyon to the position. “We’re proud to have Ms. Lyon as our poet laureate and literary ambassador for Kentucky.”
Lyon will serve as poet laureate for 2015-16. She has taught creative writing at Centre College, where she was twice a writer-in-residence; Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky; and has been a visiting writer in Master of Fine Arts programs at Vermont College, Spalding University, Murray State University and Appalachian State University. She works in 30 to 40 schools a year as a visiting author and is a frequent workshop leader for National Writing Project affiliates.
“To be the one invested as poet laureate, I think I’ll be awed and try to focus on friends’ faces and that great Lincoln statue in the rotunda,” Lyon said. “I feel in that moment I will have with me teachers, writer friends, family who have nourished my work to bring me to that moment.
“There’s been a lot of history since I wrote my first poem in third grade.”
Writers’ Day will feature readings by Lyon as well as past poets laureate, including Richard Taylor, Joe Survant, Sena Jeter Naslund, Gurney Norman, Maureen Morehead and Frank X Walker. A public reception on the Capitol Mezzanine at 11 a.m. will follow the ceremony.
For more information about Kentucky Writers’ Day, visit the Kentucky Writers’ Day Web page on the arts council website.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The arts council, along with the NEA, is celebrating 50 years of service in 2015, which the arts council is recognizing as the Year of the Arts in Kentucky.
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