A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Constance Alexander: With so much division in our society today, can poetry really unite America?

Probably not but it gives you something to think about. Just a day ago I asked Facebook friends to name their favorite poems. They swarmed in like horseflies — agile, biting, high on sweet nectar of the madness we call poetry Poetry Unites America, an unscripted documentary film series, is based on the premise that sharing the poetry we love most can bring us together in these days of political,...

Constance Alexander: New poems by Kentucky’s Frank X Walker are born out of a churning cauldron

After the dedication to all survivors of father loss, readers of poet Frank X Walker’s new book — “Last Will, Last Testament” — are confronted with a startling statement: “In a family of secrets, he who asks hard questions sounds like a gun.” These compelling poems seesaw between fathers and sons, examining how those relationships pass sorrow and strength from one generation...

Constance Alexander: Louisville native Bernard Clay is on his way with first poetry collection ‘English Lit’

The woman on the cover of Bernard Clay’s first book of poems has stars in her eyes. Literally. Perhaps she is enchanted by glitz and glamor and dreams of celebrity, or maybe she looks to the future with high expectations. The blurbs on the cover of “English Lit” — from four distinguished Kentucky writers – are more down to earth than starry-eyed: Fellow Affrilachian poet Frank X Walker...

KET announces winners of Young Writers Contest; annual contest promotes creative expression, literacy

KET is pleased to announce the winners of its 2019 Young Writers Contest. The annual contest encourages creative expression and literacy development by inviting students in kindergarten through twelfth grade to submit original illustrated stories, short stories and poetry. This year, KET received more than 1,300 submissions from across Kentucky as well as 22 other states and five countries, including...

Constance Alexander: Mark Twain might be pleased with this poetry celebration that’s ahead of its times

When Mark Twain declared, “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky, because everything there happens 20 years after it happens anywhere else,” he had no way of knowing that one Kentucky community has taken the lead in observing April as National Poetry Month. For the second year in a row, the Calloway County Public Library is hosting a public reading of poems by Kentucky writers...

Constance Alexander: At the end of a long, arduous literary journey, the writer resists ground rush

The Irish Blessing poem begins with the line, “May the road rise up to meet you.” It goes on to hope the wind will ever be at your back, and that the sun will shine upon your face, adding a wish for “rains to fall soft upon your fields.” In other words: May your journey be successful. This little prayer comes back to me as I struggle to finish the last chapter of a novel I have been writing,...

Constance Alexander: ‘Poetry Minutes’ look to inspire all would-be poets during National Poetry Month

Although we are not even half-way in, it already feels as if the month of March has been sitting on top us too long. Like a big, wet dog — sloppy, drooling, and shedding fleas – it just won’t go away. But April, National Poetry Month, is just around the corner and WKMS-FM, the National Public Radio affiliate in Murray, is gearing up to celebrate. The Academy of American Poets inaugurated...

Debut poetry collection from Rachel Danielle Peterson gives voice to Appalachia

Rachel Danielle Peterson is emerging as a unique, poetic voice of Appalachia. While regional narratives have traditionally been misrepresented or overlooked, she seeks to change that by writing candid work that mixes the compassion characteristic of a native with an unflinching honesty only possible with the critical distance of an ex-patriot. Her lyrical poetry illuminates the things we keep in the...

Constance Alexander: Celebrating National Poetry Month, the language of feeling, insight, joy and loss

Poetry. Mere mention of the word causes some to roll their eyes and sigh. Others wince as they remember over-zealous teachers whose approach to cultivating literary appreciation was the equivalent of tying the poem to a chair and beating a confession out of it (to borrow a phrase of former poet laureate, Billy Collins). But fall in love, have a child, observe a drop of water on a leaf, struggle with...

Constance Alexander: Slam poet Regie Cabico inspires Great Beginnings at Murray State

Slam poet Regie Cabico is a force of nature: Imagine Barnum & Bailey in a phone booth. Visigoths plundering Disneyworld. Colonel Sanders and the zombie apocalypse teamed up for a revival of South Pacific.   Cabico doesn’t simply enter a room, he seizes the space like an army of occupation. “When I say poetry, you say, ‘Rocks!’” he orders, and the compliant crowd chants on cue.   This...

Poetry Out Loud competition gives students creative outlet and chance to win trip to D.C.

  Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation contest, celebrates its 10th year in Kentucky schools in 2015.   The contest starts at the classroom level. Winners advance to schoolwide competition, then to the state competition, Feb. 19 at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort. Fifteen Kentucky schools, including three that are new to the Poetry Out Loud program, will compete for the chance to represent...

N.Y. poet laureate Tina Chang joining Pulitzer winner Tracy K. Smith at women writers event

  By Whitney Hale Special to KyForward     In an evening that organizers are calling “Brave New Words,” Tina Chang, poet laureate of Brooklyn, N.Y., will join Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith for a poetry reading and conversation at the keynote event of this year’s Kentucky Women Writers Conference. The noted poets will take the stage 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at University...