A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

The Affrilachian Poets: Celebrating 25 years of a radicallly influential movement of renegade poetics

When Frank X Walker coined the culturally encompassing term “Affrilachian” twenty-five years ago, he had no idea the group of colleagues who got their start inside of an elevator at the University of Kentucky would transform into a radically influential social movement The Affrilachian Poets emerged out of a desire for solidarity and to advance the visibility of diverse voices through the...

Constance Alexander: Frank X Walker brings Medgar Evers back from the grave with “Unghosting”

Summer days when I was nine, between endless games of hopscotch and hide-and-seek, I tried to finish at least a book a day. My quest was to score the most points in my local library’s vacation reading club, and that summer “Little Women” slowed me down. Probably the biggest book I had ever read, it was also the first one that made me cry. In the chapter entitled, “The Valley of the Shadow”...

LexArts announces addition of Hess, Padgett, Stewart, Walker to Board of Directors

LexArts announced the election of four new members to its Board of Directors: Anna Hess, Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras; Greg Padgett, Padgett Construction; Jon Stewart, Kentucky Employers’ Mutual Insurance; and Frank X. Walker, poet, professor and playwright. Hess John Cioci, PNC Bank, currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the 44 year old arts council and United Arts Fund. Other members...

Rural Blog: Role of African Americans in Appalachia coal industry largely unrecognized

When someone is asked to imagine a person living in Appalachia, they’ll likely imagine a white person. But the Appalachians have a significant African American population in certain places. The Washington Post’s Emma Ockerman writes a fascinating piece about what it means to be an African American living in Appalachia, feeling “like a racial minority within a cultural minority.”...

National Endowment for the Arts awards grant to Transylvania professors for Unlearn Fear + Hate project

Transylvania University professors Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova have received $10,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to create a permanent, illuminated artwork as part of their ongoing Unlearn Fear + Hate cycle of artworks. The artwork will be a large sculptural halo mounted on a downtown building. The location for the installation is to be determined. The NEA grant provides initial funding...

University Press reissues short story collections by award-winning Kentucky author Wilkinson

When Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” in the early 1990s, he and a group of like-minded writers founded the Affrilachian Poets to challenge the perception of a racially homogenous Appalachia and to highlight the under-represented presence of African Americans in the mountain South. Among that group was Crystal Wilkinson, whose love and fond regard for the land...

Constance Alexander: The arts are underrated — but significant — contributor to Kentucky’s economy

“Even though Kentucky trumpets bourbon, basketball and fried chicken, we have more artists than distilleries in the commonwealth,” Frank X Walker declared on Saturday, to an uncommon gathering of more than 100 artists, arts educators and administrators in Danville. Later in his opening address, Walker emphasized the arts as a valid choice, not just “something you do on vacation.” The nationally...

Transylvania’s Morlan Gallery to host Affrilachian poetry, visual arts exhibition beginning Jan. 13

Transylvania University’s Morlan Gallery will open its 2017 exhibition year on Friday, Jan. 13, with an exhibition of Affrilachian visual artists and poets. Titled “Black Bone” after the Affrilachian Poets’ first literary anthology to be released this month, Morlan’s exhibition will showcase artists and poets from states in the Appalachian region—including Kentucky, South Carolina, North...

Constance Alexander: What if? Calling all ‘creatives’ — they’ll be gathering in Danville on Jan. 14

While some look at the challenges Kentucky faces only to wallow in online misery with social media friends, others refuse to retreat to the “Ain’t it awful” chorus. These are the “creatives” – people like Frank X Walker – the renowned Kentucky writer who has invited other “creatives” to gather at Danville High School at noon on Saturday, Jan. 14, to explore their collective creative...

Commentary: Affrilachian Poets explain their decision to reject Governor’s Awards in the Arts

The Affrilachian Poets released this announcement explaining their rejection of the Governor’s Awards in the Arts: The Affrilachian Poets have decided to reject the Governor’s Awards in the Arts Community Arts Award announced by Governor Matt Bevin’s office earlier this week. As a collective of writers and educators, especially in light of our 25th anniversary, which we celebrate...

Commentary: More shooting deaths remind us of our responsibility to keep the promise

By Terry Allen Special to KyForward There are so many things we don’t yet know about the tragic shooting deaths this week of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, now compounded by the horrific killing and wounding of 12 police officers in Dallas. What we do know is, in so many respects, of little comfort. We are enveloped by a numbing sensation, overwhelming confusion and sadness. So many of...

Lexington celebrates life of legendary jockey Isaac Murphy with week of special events

  Murphy’s career spanned from the mid-1870s through the mid-1890s; he rode in 11 Kentucky Derbies, winning three of them. By his account, he won 44 percent of his 1,412 races, a victory rate never equaled in 120 years.   Born in Frankfort in 1861, Murphy and his mother moved to his grandfather’s home in Lexington when his father died as a Union Army soldier during the Civil War....

Lacresha Berry brings BrownGirl. Bluegrass home to Lexington for Lyric’s 5th anniversary

Lexington native and UK alumna Lacresha Berry returns to Lexington for the fifth anniversary of the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center. She will present ‘BrownGirl. Bluegrass.” (Brown Girl. Bluegrass photo)   By Whitney Hale Special to Kyforward   From the work on the stage to her return to Lexington, University of Kentucky theatre alumna Lacresha Berry is making history.   Berry,...

Lacresha Berry brings BrownGirl. Bluegrass home to Lexington for Lyric’s 5th anniversary

Lexington native and UK alumna Lacresha Berry returns to Lexington for the fifth anniversary of the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center. She will present ‘BrownGirl. Bluegrass.” (Brown Girl. Bluegrass photo)   By Whitney Hale Special to Kyforward   From the work on the stage to her return to Lexington, University of Kentucky theatre alumna Lacresha Berry is making history.   Berry,...

Long-awaited Lexington Community Radio
to hit the airwaves with ‘Amazing Radio Race’

Lexington Community Radio is located in the Lexington Steam Academy. The studio features artwork from Homegrown Press Studio and Gallery and freshly FCPS students. (Facebook photo)   Lexington’s new nonprofit, low-power FM station, WLXL-LP 95.7 FM, will start broadcasting Saturday, Sept. 19, with a scavenger hunt through Lexington’s North End called the “Amazing Radio Race.” Lexington...

African-American Read-In this month brings new voices to Breckinridge Elementary School

Musician DeBraun Thomas read to children about jazz great Duke Ellington and civil rights activist Ruby Bridges. “Somebody did it for me, and now it’s my turn,” he said of stepping up for the Read-In. (Photos by Tammy L. Lane)   By Tammy L. Lane Special to KyForward   Breckinridge Elementary in Lexington has bookmarked February for an African-American Read-In in observance...

Turning It Up: Effort to bring community radio to Lexington moving full steam ahead

Lexington Community Radio’s broadcast range map (Map provided)   An effort to bring low-power FM radio – and a platform for local voices – to Lexington continues to move forward. Lexington Community Radio, which received approval from the Federal Communications Commission for construction of two stations, has begun installing its transmitter at Bluegrass Community and Technical...

A book for anyone’s taste ready for autograph at Frankfort’s 33rd Kentucky Book Fair

(Photo from KBF)   Nearly 200 authors will participate in the 33rd annual Kentucky Book Fair on Nov. 15 at the Frankfort Convention Center, signing and talking about books as diverse as basketball, bourbon and the Beatles.   The book fair, Kentucky’s premier literary event, is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation. Since its inception in 1981, proceeds from the fair have resulted...

Annual Kentucky Book Fair provides nearly $400,000 in grants to school, public libraries

(Photo from KBF)   Nearly 200 authors will participate in the 33rd annual Kentucky Book Fair on Nov. 15 at the Frankfort Convention Center, signing and talking about books as diverse as basketball, bourbon and the Beatles.   The book fair, Kentucky’s premier literary event, is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation. Since its inception in 1981, proceeds from the fair have resulted...

Pumped Up: Four professors excited about launch of UK’s new MFA in creative writing

By Sarah Schuetze Special to KyForward   There are many parallels between initiating a program and starting a novel, poem or story. Those creative possibilities inspired the University of Kentucky’s creative writing faculty who are enthusiastically beginning the first semester of the school’s new master of fine arts.   For Andrew Ewell, a new assistant professor in UK’s Department...