Kentucky Poets Laureate Join Kentucky Writers’ Day Celebration at Capitol Rotunda
The Kentucky Arts Council will celebrate Kentucky Writers' Day at 10:00 a.m., on Monday, April 24th in the Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort with a special program that combines the readings of Kentucky poets laureate with high-school student performances by the Kentucky state finals winner and runner-up of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest.
By act of the Kentucky legislature, Kentucky Writers’ Day is celebrated annually on April 24th to honor the birth date of Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren, first poet laureate of the United States, winner of 3 Pulitzer Prizes and the only person to win in both the fiction and poetry categories.
"I'm delighted to see that the Kentucky Arts Council is recognizing the literary arts by sponsoring Kentucky Writers' Day at the Capitol. Literature has traditionally been the most underappreciated and underfunded of the arts. Perhaps with more visibility, that situation will change," said Sarah Gorham, president and editor-in-chief of Sarabande Books, a Louisville-based non-profit publisher of contemporary literature.
Kentucky Poet Laureate Sena Jeter Naslund will highlight the program with remarks and readings from her work. Dr. Naslund was appointed Poet Laureate by Governor Ernie Fletcher to serve for a two-year term ending in 2006.
Dr. Naslund currently holds the positions of Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Louisville and Program Director of the Spalding University Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.
The Kentucky Poetry Out Loud Contest winner Kendra Holloway from Christian County High School and runner-up Dean Muir from Trimble County High School will share their creative and highly charged recitations for those attending the Writers’ Day event. The Poetry Out Loud recitation program is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Kentucky Poet Laureate Sena Jeter Naslund, one of three judges for the Kentucky State Finals of the Poetry Out Loud competition, was especially moved by Holloway's recitation of the "Ballad of Birmingham." Coincidentally, the poem, inspired by the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, also served as context for Naslund's award-winning novel "Four Spirits."
Richard Taylor, who served as Kentucky Poet Laureate from 1999-2000, James Baker Hall, Kentucky Poet Laureate 2001-2002 and Joe Survant, Kentucky Poet Laureate 2003-2004 will also come together to share readings from their work.
A reception will follow at 11:00 a.m. on the mezzanine level of the Capitol. The Kentucky Writers’ Day celebration and reception is free and open to the public.
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The Kentucky Arts Council joins the National Endowment for the Arts in celebrating 40 years of public support for the arts. The Kentucky Arts Council is a state agency in the Commerce Cabinet that invests in programs that develop vibrant communities, provide lifelong education in the arts and support arts participation. Every $1 in grant funds awarded by the Kentucky Arts Council helps grantees secure $15 in earned income and matching funds from individuals, philanthropic sources and other levels of government. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky State Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.