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Appalachian Center Events

Gurney Fest!

A two-day celebration of Appalachian writer, documentarian, advocate, UK English Professor Emeritus, and UK Alumnus (BA '59), Gurney Norman. Norman is the author of Divine Right's Trip: A Folk-Tale (1972), Kinfolks: The Wilgus Stories (1977), One From Crazy Quilt: A Novel in Progress (1990), Ancient Creek: A Folktale (2012), and Allegiance (2019). He served as Kentucky Poet Laureate in 2009-10 and has been inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame (2019) and into the University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame (2021).

Events include a musical performance, master class, panel discussions, film screenings, and readings of Gurney's works. The detailed program follows below. REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Gurney Norman at Hindman Settlement School, photo by Guy Mendes
Gurney Norman at Hindman Settlement School, photo by Guy Mendes


Friday Events

10:30am -1:30pm


Hardymon Theater in Davis Marksbury Building


Gurney Fest! kickoff and new documentary by Sean Anderson.

Hardymon Theater in Davis Marksbury Building


Musical performance by Jack Wright, brought by the Appalachian Center and Appalachia in the Bluegrass Series.

Hardymon Theater in Davis Marksbury Building


Lunch and screening of KET documentary, Time on the River.

Ballroom in King Alumni House


Morris Grubbs, "Living with Kinfolks: Gurney as a Master of the Short Story."

Ballroom in King Alumni House


Panel discussion on Teaching Gurney. Speakers include Erik Reece, Morris Grubbs, Chris Green, Leatha Kendrick, and Theresa Burriss. Moderated by Robert Gipe. 

Ballroom in King Alumni House


Student and alumni readings, Graphite Creative Writing Club.

Ballroom in King Alumni House


Film screening, The Wilgus Stories.

Ballroom in King Alumni House


Panel discussion on The Wilgus Stories Film with Director Andrew Garrison and Actors William Johnson, Robin Mullins, and Frank Hoyt Taylor.



Saturday Events


Screening of KET documentary, Wilderness Road.

Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center


Screening of Coal Black Voices.

Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center





Panel on Coal Black Voices. Speakers include Theresa Burriss, Jean Donahue, Fred Johnson, Frank X Walker, and Crystal Wilkinson.

Second Screening of New Documentary by Sean Anderson.

Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center

Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center


"Gurney’s Writing Community." Panelists include Robert Gipe, Sharon Hatfield, Chris Holbrook, George Ella Lyon, Maurice Manning, and Bobbie Ann Mason.

Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center


Panel on Gurney and his Homefolks. Speakers include Mandi Fugate Sheffel, Nick Smith, Pam Meade, Angelyn DeBord, Jack Wright, and Dee Davis. 

Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center


Screening of KET documentary, From this Valley.

Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center



Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center


Closing event with readings of Gurney's works and filmed tributes by distinguished authors.

Harris Ballroom in Gatton Student Center

The University of Kentucky College of Arts & Sciences Department of English is proud to sponsor Gurney Fest! with support from the A&S Office of Inclusive Excellence, African American and Africana Studies, Appalachian Center & Appalachian Studies Program, The Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies, The Gaines Center for the Humanities, Department of History, The Kentucky Humanities Council, Department of Linguistics, Department of Modern & Classical Languages, The Nunn Center and UK Libraries, Department of Sociology, and Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies.


Presenter Bios

Sean Anderson is a filmmaker living in Lexington, Kentucky.  He was raised in Pikeville, Ky., and graduated from the University of Kentucky.  After a few years living in Washington, D.C., he lived in the Bay Area of Northern California  where he earned a master’s degree in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University.  Among his documentaries are:  Rock That Uke, a clinical study of the ukulele and its discontents; …damn bad oyster: The Times of William Goebel, governor, a tragicomic tale of Kentucky politics; and The People in the Room, which chronicles a year spent among fencing students and their maestro.

Theresa L. Burriss was the first scholar to publish literary criticism on the Affrilachian writers, initially focusing on Frank X Walker, Crystal Wilkinson, and Nikky Finney. Her chapter, “A Voice of Their Own: The Affrilachian Writers,” appeared in the collection, An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature, which Gurney co-edited with Sharon Hatfield and Danny Miller. It is not hyperbole to assert that Gurney helped launch Theresa’s academic career as she went on to publish numerous articles on the Affrilachians and was tapped as an Honorary Affrilachian. She currently serves as the Assistant VP of Community Engagement & Economic Development at Emory & Henry College in Southwest Virginia. Thanks to Gurney Norman for providing opportunity and guidance, 

Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. is an advocate, Kentucky Teacher of the Year, and the author of Gay Poems for Red States, a BookRiot Best Book of 2023. He writes about queer and Appalachian identity, focusing on innocence. Carver’s story has been featured on ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, Washington Post, Le Monde, and Good Morning America. He testified before the US Congressional Committee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties about the schools’ failure to protect students. His work is published in 100 Days in Appalachia, 2RulesofWriting, Another Chicago Magazine, Largehearted Boy Blog, Smoky Blue Literary Magazine, and Good River Review.

Dee Davis is president of the Center for Rural Strategies, Whitesburg.

Angelyn DeBord grew up in the midst of multi-generations of her extended family in western North Carolina.  And it is this family that she credits for the inspiration for 40-year career as a playwright, visual artist, performing artist and workshop leader. A founding member of Appalshop’s Roadside Theater, her theater workshops have led young and old alike to successfully create and perform original material on stages throughout America and in England. Her work reflects a life-long commitment to encouraging people to honor their unique voices and heritages.  DeBord was a recipient of a Rockefeller Humanities Arts and Activism Fellowship to research and publish Telling Your Own Story, A story illumination project.  Angelyn is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Registered Play Therapist.

Jean Donohue’s work has been seen on BBC 2, BBC World Service, POV, national and regional public television, The Discovery and Learning Channels, Independent Focus on WNET-13-New York and film festivals around the world. Donohue was on the crew of Gurney Norman’s Wilderness Road and On the River. Her films include From the Shadows of Power, which follows women miners and British women activists as they confront the Reagan/Thatcher’s war on the working class. Her films that feature Gurney Norman are Coal Black Voices, of which she is co-producer/director; The Trail of Hope, the Building of a Ceremonial Earthwork; and Coming to Ground of which Gurney is an associate producer. Her recent film, The Last Gospel of the Pagan Babies tells the story of a 150-year unbroken history of queer Central Kentucky. Her current works-in-progress are: Under the Southern Cross, The Art and Legacy of Henry L. Faulkner, and Love Thru Darkness about jazz/hiphop artist Napoleon Maddox.  


Andrew Garrison is an independent filmmaker who works in both documentary and fiction. He lived in Kentucky for over 15 years and worked with Appalshop for more than a dozen of those years. Prior to that, he was a part of a political media collective that he co-founded with a group of friends in Dayton, OH. He has screened his movies at festivals worldwide including Sundance, SXSW, Berlin, Locarno, Rotterdam, London, and the New York Film Festival, and venues as diverse as an after-school program at a housing project in Hungary and Lincoln Center. His work has earned Guggenheim, Rockefeller, American Film Institute, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. He has just retired from teaching film production at The University of Texas at Austin. Working with Gurney changed his life. 


Robert Gipe met Gurney Norman in 1990 or thereabouts. They have collaborated on various summer arts programs, professional development events for teachers, fashion shows, and celebration of mountain luminaries past and present. Gipe is the author of three novels and is the founding producer of the Higher Ground community performance series in Harlan County, Kentucky, where Gipe resides. Gipe grew up near the banks of the Holston River in Kingsport, Tennessee.


Chris Green directs the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center at Berea College, where he has served as an associate professor of Appalachian Studies since 2012. Chris has lectured at the Appalachian Writers Workshop in Hindman, served as president of the Appalachian Studies Association, teaches for the New Opportunity School for Women, and has authored or edited four books, including two that Gurney blurbed (Coal: A Poetry Anthology and Rushlight: Poems) and The Social Life of Poetry: Appalachian, Race, and Radical Modernism, which won the Weatherford Award for the Best Non-Fiction Book on Appalachia. After graduating UK in 1991, his wanderings took him to three states and four degrees, ending with a Ph.D at UK.  In 2004, he joined Marshall University’s English department to teach Appalachian literature, becoming an Associate Professor of English and Gradate Humanities. As a writer/teacher, his seeks to empower people regardless of capacity or circumstance. He still misses W.Va.

Morris Grubbs has directed Graduate Student Professional Enhancement at the University of Kentucky since 2007 and has served as an Assistant Dean in the Graduate School since 2010. Before transitioning to administration, he taught literature and writing for ten years as a professor of English at Lindsey Wilson College.  He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Kentucky, with a dissertation on Bobbie Ann Mason’s Shiloh and Other Stories. His primary research interests are the history and theory of the short story genre internationally.  He has been a frequent presenter and panelist at the International Conference on the Short Story in English and is editor of Home and Beyond: An Anthology of Kentucky Short Stories (University Press of Kentucky), Conversations with Wendell Berry (University Press of Mississippi), and Every Leaf a Mirror: A Jim Wayne Miller Reader (with Mary Ellen Miller, University Press of Kentucky).

Sharon Hatfield had the pleasure of working with Gurney and the late Danny Miller to co-edit the 2005 anthology An American Vein: Critical Readings in Appalachian Literature—an effort that spanned five years and entailed numerous confabs in Ohio and Kentucky. She is the author of Never Seen the Moon: The Trials of Edith Maxwell, which received the Weatherford Award for nonfiction and the Chaffin Award in 2006. She has taught at the Appalachian Writers’ Workshop at Hindman, Kentucky, and the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival at Lincoln Memorial University. Sharon is retired from college teaching and works as an editor and manuscript coach. Her latest nonfiction work, Enchanted Ground, was released in paperback in 2022 by Swallow Press. She makes her home in Athens, Ohio, but hails from the beautiful Powell Valley in Lee County, Virginia—a wellspring of imagination and memory in Gurney’s stories.

Chris Holbrook first met Gurney Norman in 1979 as a student in Gurney’s creative writing course at the University of Kentucky. Gurney’s instruction and writing were a revelation. Reading Kinfolks Chris saw written into literature the places he had known growing up and characters who could have been his own people. After graduating from UK, Chris attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, earning an MFA in fiction writing.  He has two collections of short stories in print, Hell and Ohio: Stories of Southern Appalachia (Gnomon Press) and Upheaval (the University Press of Kentucky).  Chris currently lives in Lexington, Ky and teaches at Morehead State University where he helped establish and now coordinates MSU’s BFA in Creative Writing.


Fred Johnson is a documentary maker who has worked as teacher and a media and communications policy scholar.  Johnson's work has been transmitted and streamed in a wide range of venues including the Kentucky Public Television network, WNET-New York, the British Broadcasting Corporation’s BBC 2 and BBC World Service. His work has addressed globalization, the international arms trade, Appalachian culture, poetry, urban and public space, and relationships of communications, geography, and constructed space. As a recipient of a Fulbright Television Arts Fellowship, he was sited at the BBC's legendary Community Programmes Unit in London where he took part in early experiments in citizen engagement with social documentary, producing for their Open Space Series. He has had the privilege and astonishing good fortune to know and work with Gurney Norman – on writing projects, documentaries, symposia, and long, looping, labyrinthine conversations -- for decades.

William Johnson met Gurney Norman through his work on The Wilgus Stories.  He grew up in Letcher County, Kentucky and co-starred in Fat Monroe and Night Ride at 10 and 13 years old. He now owns and operates a pest control agency in Bagdad, KY where he resides on his farm with his wife and 2 children.

Leatha Kendrick, a long-time workshop leader at the Appalachian Writers Workshop, co-edited Crossing Troublesome – Twenty-Five Years of the Appalachian Writers Workshop in 2002. In 2022, Kendrick’s essay-review of Gurney Norman’s Allegiance: Stories, was adopted as the introduction to the second edition. Kendrick first encountered Gurney Norman’s visceral and visionary writing at the Appalachian Writers Workshop in the late 1980’s. In the decades that followed, Norman’s wide-ranging creative projects and his tireless, generous teaching at the University of Kentucky and across Appalachia inspired a generation of emerging writers, Kendrick among them. Kendrick’s poems, essays, book reviews, and memoir appear widely and have been collected in anthologies, including Listen Here – Women Writing in Appalachia; Missing Mountains; The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume 3; and What Comes Down to Us – Twenty-Five Contemporary Kentucky Poets. Kendrick is the author of five books of poetry, most recently And Luckier (2020).

George Ella Lyon worked for Gurney's Appalachian Poetry Project, which aimed to hold poetry workshops in five southern Appalachian states. Lyon's job was to find poets in the region to lead these gatherings, while Bob Henry Baber set up the workshops. Besides supporting poetry & poets, this project, like all Gurney’s work, was about building community. Through it, Lyon met some of her dearest friends. Gurney also got Lyon to Hindman’s Appalachian Writers Workshop, which continues to extend that community exponentially. Lyon would not be the writer or the person she is without Gurney’s belief in her early on, without his friendship, generosity & vision through the years. Lyon writes poetry, fiction, picture books, memoir, and assorted prose. Originally from Harlan County, Lyon served as Kentucky Poet Laureate (2015) and was recently inducted into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.

Maurice Manning's eighth book of poetry, Snakedoctor, has just been published.  He is a former Guggenheim fellow, finalist for the Pulitzer prize, and a graduate of UK.  He is professor and writer-in-residence at Transylvania University.


Bobbie Ann Mason was raised on a dairy farm in Mayfield, Kentucky.  She earned her B.A. in English at the University of Kentucky in 1962 and her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut in 1972. At UK she met Gurney Norman, who encouraged her to take creative writing from Robert Hazel, whose students included Wendell Berry, James Baker Hall, and Ed McClanahan. Her first short stories were published in The New Yorker, and her memoir, "Clear Springs," was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Much of her work has to do with war, and her newest novel, "Dear Ann," returns to the Vietnam War as the looming background of a love story in the turbulent sixties. She is former writer-in-residence at UK.

Pam Oldfield Meade lives in White Oak, KY near West Liberty.  Her paintings show her love and respect of nature, people, stories, and life in eastern Kentucky as well as her commitment to addressing social issues in the region as well as the wider world. She uses colored pencil and watercolor sketches; found paper and food packaging; metal; text; acrylic and oil paint along with other items to create her paintings.  She believes artists will help shape a positive future in Appalachia Kentucky and areas beyond.  She created art for two of Gurney Norman’s books: Ancient Creek and the hardback edition of Allegiance

Robin Mullins was born and raised in Wise, Virginia and now makes her home in East Tennessee with her husband, D.R. Mullins. Robin first learned about Gurney after buying Divine Right’s Trip at The Cozy Corner gift shop in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Reading the story on the bottom pages of The Whole Earth Catalog furthered the intrigue. As a high schooler at Jenkins, Kentucky, she filled many pages of a diary with poems about Gurney, who she’d never met or seen. Robin has been in many feature films and television shows since, mainly about the mountain region of her home or the south. But the highlight was getting to play Maxine in The Wilgus Stories and getting to finally meet Gurney Norman. More synchronicity occurs as she married a man named D. R.! Robin is honored to be a part of this celebration of beloved Gurney Norman who unknowingly steered her young life in such a wonderful direction. Along with  other mentors, many of them here in attendance, heartfelt thanks to you all. 

Erik Reece is the author of six books of nonfiction, including Utopia Drive and Lost Mountain, which won Columbia University's John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The Oxford American, the Atlantic, The Nation, Orion, and elsewhere. He teaches writing and literature at the University of Kentucky and is the founder of Kentucky Writers and Artists for Reforestation.  

Dane Ritter is a poet and author, currently enrolled as a PhD student in the University of Kentucky's Department of English where he also received his MFA in Creative Writing. His research and poetry about Eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian Region previously received the William Hugh Jansen and the James S. Brown Graduate Awards. His creative work, featured in several publications like The Cortland Review, Still: the Journal, and Cold Mountain Review, explores the environmental devastation of mountaintop removal often understood through a queer Appalachian lens. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky with his growing family.

Mandi Fugate Sheffel was born and raised in Red Fox, Ky. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, she found her passion for writing and storytelling at the Appalachian Writers Workshop at the Hindman Settlement School. Her personal essays and opinion pieces can be found in Still: The Journal, Lexington-Herald Leader, and the Courier Journal. Her forthcoming personal essay collection, The Nature of Pain, will be released in 2025 through The University Press of Kentucky. She currently owns and operates, Read Spotted Newt, an independent bookstore in the coalfields of eastern Kentucky.

Nick Smith is a communist poet, farmer, and liberation activist from Knox County, Kentucky.

Frank Hoyt Taylor was born in Norton in the coalfields of southwestern Virginia. After earning a degree in English from the University of Virginia at Wise he joined the newly formed Roadside Theatre, a part of Appalachian Film Workshop. For the next ten years, and over four hundred touring performances, he was part of a three actor ensemble in an original production based on Appalachian storytelling. Venues ranged from tents, prisons, and colleges to a run at the Manhattan Theatre Club. His film career began with two notable movies, John Sayle's, Matewan, and Mark Rydell's, The River. Soon, he was enlisted to play the character of Uncle Bogg in the television series Christy. His many film credits over the years include the role of Sheriff Guidry in Joseph Sargent's, A Lesson Before Dying, which gathered an Emmy for best picture, and in 2005 director Phil Morrison brought Frank in to play the folk artist David Wark in the independent Junebug. It was a Sundance favorite and was on many of the year's ten best films lists. Diane Bell met Frank when she and Chris Byrne were visiting friends at his home at the River Farm in Virginia. They saw the bee hives, ate from the garden, and heard some great live music. Later, in conversation, she briefly mentioned a script called Obselidia she was completing. Several months later she contacted Frank to see if he had any more honey, he did, and to ask if he and bees would be in her movie. And they were, though the bees that worked on location in the desert near Death Valley turned out not to be from the River Farm, but were their California cousins. Unfortunately, they could not accompany Frank to the premiere in the knee-deep snow at Sundance. They were returned to their home in the locust groves near the foot of Mount Whitney.

Frank X Walker, multidisciplinary Artist, Educator and Activist, was a fiction student of Gurney’s over 40 years ago in the early 1980’s at UK. He also regularly rode shotgun with the Gurn into the mountains to literary and educational events at Hazel Green, Hindman, Hazard Community College, Appalshop, and even the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee. Walker considers Gurney his “Literary Father.” His and Nyoka Hawkin’s Old Cove Press published three of Walker’s earliest poetry collections: Affrilachia, Black Box, and Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride. Walker is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets and teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing and African American and Africana Studies program at the University of Kentucky and resides in Lexington’s East End Artists Village. 

Crystal Wilkinson, a recent fellowship recipient of the Academy of American Poets, is the award-winning author of Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts, a culinary memoir, Perfect Black, a collection of poems, and three works of fiction—The Birds of Opulence, Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. She was Poet Laureate of Kentucky from 2021 to 2023 and met Gurney in the 90s while carpooling to the Hariette Arnow Conference. Crystal was recently named the Bush-Holbrook Endowed Professor at University of Kentucky where she teaches creative writing and African-American and Appalachian literature.  

Jack Wright is a writer, storyteller and musician with work appearing on NPR, PBS, June Appal Recordings and in Hollywood films. His articles about Appalachia have appeared in Independent Spirit, Iron Mountain Review, Appalachian Journal and other publications. In 2007 he produced a book and CD anthology, Music of Coal. He is a retired professor from Ohio University Film School.



The Pandemic and the Professor: COVID-19’s Challenges for Teaching and Learning, and the Lasting Implications for Higher Education

As a prelude to the Fall Semester, Associate Provost Kathi Kern and Dean Mark Kornbluh will discuss the challenges posed by teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty and students alike worry about the logistics. How will we maintain a safe and healthy learning environment? How much of instruction will need to be moved online or “flipped”? How does technology enable or restrict us? How do we continue to foster strong student-teacher bonds at a distance? How do we build community in our current environment?

And while these questions are urgent for the particular moment, they also point to a lasting shift in how we go about our work as educators. Even after the pandemic subsides, we will likely find ourselves reflecting on the unexamined, yet sacred elements of what makes a college education. As disruptive as the pandemic has been, it has also ignited a climate of innovation. We are led to think anew about the journeys that our students take, how our research and disciplines best serve a diverse community of learners, how the wicked problems of the world defy institutional silos, and how we can best support individuals while also strengthening communities. Our lessons learned and enduring challenges from the past few months afford us a unique opportunity to anticipate these emergent paradigms for teaching and learning.

Pandemic and the Professor from UK College of Arts & Sciences on Vimeo.


Online - Registration Required

Compressed Course: "Mapping Variation: An Introduction to the Use of Geospatial Tools for Linguistic Analysis" (A&S 500-003)

This one-week, one-credit compressed course focuses on mapping variation through the use of geospatial tools like GIS.  The course, offered as A&S 500-003, will take place from November 9-13 from 5-8pm each day in the Oliver Raymond Building, room C226.  As a 500-level course, it is open to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Dr. Montgomery's research investigates ways of integrating techniques used in geography with those traditionally used in dialectology.  His specific focus in the use of GIS technologies is innovative in the field of linguistics, and his presence on UK's campus will expose the community here to some of the most recent endeavors in these kinds of digital humanities research methodologies.  Despite a focus in linguistic variation, this class will present methods that could be applied to many of the social sciences and humanities, wherein the questions deal with societal patterns, variations in those patterns, and the geospatial presentation and analysis of data related to those patterns.  If you have any questions about this course, please contact Dr. Jennifer Cramer (

Oliver H Raymond Building, Room C226

"It’s not just a drawl, y’all: Fact vs. fiction in Kentucky speech" (student documentary film on Kentucky English)

Rough cut viewing about a half hour in length of a UK-student-created documentary film, followed by a panel discussion.  Viewing and discussion are open to the public, so bring a friend or two!

Center Theater (Old Student Center)

Kentucky Poetry Festival

Come celebrate National Poetry Month during first annual Kentucky Poetry Month, sponsored by the University of Kentucky's MFA in Creative Writing!

2015 Kentucky Poetry Festival Events

April 24 - May 01


  • Off the Ground Featuring Bianca Lynne Spriggs

    • Common Grounds on High Street

    • Friday April 24, 2015

    • 7:30pm

    • Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem Fellow, Bianca Lynne Spriggs is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Lexington, Kentucky. She is the author of Kaffir Lily (Wind Publications, 2010), How Swallowtails Become Dragons (Accents Publishing, 2011), and the forthcoming titles, Call Her By Her Name (Northwestern University Press, 2016), The Galaxy is a Dance Floor (Argos Books, 2016), and Circe's Lament: An Anthology of Wild Women (Accents Publishing, 2015). Her work may be found in numerous journals and anthologies. Open mic to follow!

  • KFP College Showcase

    • James F. Hardymon Theater, inside the Davis Marksbury Building on the UK's campus, 329 Rose Street

    • Saturday April 25, 2015

    • 2:00pm

    • Creative writing college students from around Kentucky will read their poetry.

  • A Reading by Louisvillian Poets, feat. Jeremy Clark, Adam Day, Lynnell Edwards, Michael Estes, and Martha Greenwald

    • James F. Hardymon Theater, inside the Davis Marksbury Building on the UK's campus, 329 Rose Street

    • Saturday April 25, 2015

    • 7:00pm

    • Louisville Poets will read their work.

  • Verse in Type

    • Clark Art & Antique, 801 Winchester Rd, Lexington, KY 40505

    • Sunday April 26th

    • 3:00pm

    • Broadside display from the King Library Press.

  • UK Libraries King Library Spring Seminar

    • Boone Center

    • Tuesday April 28th

    • 7:00pm

    • Dara Wier and Emily Pettit will lecture for the King Library as Keynote Speakers. King Library Press Broadside Contest Award winner will read.

  • Waxing Gastronomic: Food Poetry Open Mic

    • Donut Days on Southland

    • Wednesday April 29

    • 4:00pm


  • Dara Wier & Emily Pettit, Visiting Writers Series

    • UK Art Museum

    • Wednesday April 29th

    • 7:00pm

    • Dara Wier is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including You Good Thing (Wave Books, 2013); Selected Poems (2009); Remnants of Hannah (2006); Reverse Rapture (2005), and many others. She teaches workshops and form and theory seminars and directs the M.F.A. program for poets and writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

    • Emily Pettit is the author of Goat in the Snow (Birds LLC), and two chapbooks How (Octopus Books) and What Happened to Limbo (Pilot Books). Her poems can be found in Skein, Thethe, Sixth Finch, Wolf in a Field, Le Petite Zine, Forklift Ohio, Glitterpony, Diagram, Octopus, H_ngM_n and elsewhere.  She has a MFA from the University of Iowa where she was a Maytag Fellow. She teaches writing and literature at Elms College, poetry workshops at Flying Object and is publisher and editor of jubilat (the literary magazine) and at factory hollow press.She is an editor for notnostrums ( and Factory Hollow Press. More poems can be found online (Octopus, Sixth Finch, Strange Machine) and in print (Invisible Ear, and, soon, Skein and SUPERMACHINE.)


  • Holler, featuring Normandi Ellis, Roger Bonair-Agard, AlexanderSings

    • Al’s Bar

    • Wednesday April, 29, 2015

    • 8:00 PM

    • Open mic starts at 8:00pm

    • We celebrate national poetry month with the return of Normandi Ellis, author of Words on Water, and the debut of two-time National Poetry Slam Champion, Roger Bonair-Agard, his latest Bury My Clothes, a long list finalist for the National Book Award. Providing music is Louisville based old time/folk artist AlexanderSings! Alejandro Udisco Kentucki). As usual open mic opens and closes the show. Bring some extra bones for the Holler bucket. Support your local arts. See y'all there!

  • Write or Die Poetry Slam (Presented by Bianca Spriggs/Hosted by the Raven House)

    • Ravenhouse 3229 Raven Cir, Lexington, Kentucky

    • Thursday April 30, 2015

    • 8:30pm, doors open at 8:00pm

    • Eight poets from around the state and region will compete in a three-round elimination spoken word competition for a first prize of $500 (sponsored by The Morris Book Shop) and a second prize of $300 (Sponsored by UnderMain). The feature and celebrity judge for the night is award-winning poet, Roger Bonair-Agard. Opening musical performances by Designer Flow and J. Cannon. DJ Warren Peace will be on the one's and two's. And special bonus, Thomas Kirkland, veteran slam emcee, will be dusting off his mic for the occasion! There will be a full spread, BYOB. Admission is $20. Capacity is 80 attendees, so get there early for this fast-paced, one-of-a-kind event! You can purchase tix in advance here: A portion of the proceeds will go towards each of the performers that night as well as the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning!


  • Roger Bonair-Agard Interview

    • William T. Young Auditorium

    • Thursday April 30th, 2015

    • 5:30pm

    • Poet and spoken-word artist Roger Bonair-Agard was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the United States in 1987. His collections of poetry include Tarnish and Masquerade (2006); Gully (2010); and Bury My Clothes (2013), which was a long-list finalist for a National Book Award. A Cave Canem fellow, Bonair-Agard performs his work and leads workshops internationally. He is the cofounder and artistic director of the louderARTS Project and teaches poetry at the Cook County Temporary Juvenile Detention Facility in Chicago.

  • Ekphrastic Poetry Prize DEADLINE

  • The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky and the University of Kentucky MFA Program in Creative Writing present The Kentucky Poetry Festival’s Ekphrastic Poetry Prize. First prize: $100. Deadline: May 01st. Entries must pertain to the permanent collection, or a current or past exhibit at The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky. Please indicate the name of the work and the artist’s name with entry. Contest is open to all poets, excluding current MFA poetry students at the University of Kentucky. Entrants may submit up to 3 poems as a single attached file with the format firstname_lastname2015 to: For inquiries contact us at

  • Poetry in the Greenhouses

    • Michler's Florist, Greenhouses & Garden Design, 417 E Maxwell St, Lexington, KY 40508

    • Friday, May 01

    • 5:30pm

    • Readings by Steven Alvarez, Dan Howell, Leatha Kendrick, George Ella Lyon, Maurice Manning, Christopher McCurry, Kimberly Miller, Gurney Norman, Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, Richard Taylor, and Jeff Worley
    • Open mic to follow.

Lexington and UK's campus

***EVENT CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER***6th Annual Appalachian Research Community Symposium and Arts Showcase

***THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED DUE TO DANGEROUS WEATHER CONDITIONS. WE WILL RESCHEDULE AND POST UPDATES WHEN PLANS ARE FINALIZED*** The University of Kentucky Graduate Appalachian Research Community presents the 6th Annual UK Appalachian Research Community Symposium and Arts Showcase on Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the William T. Young Library.  This year's keynote speaker is Lisa Conley, Ph.D. Her research interests focus on foodways, environmental sustainability, and local food politics in motivating the self-provisioning practices of people in rural and urban Kentucky.  Please, find more information about registration or proposal submition here:  The deadline to submit abstracts is February 15, 2015.  Registration for presenters and non-presenters is free.  Undergraduate and Graduate students are welcome to register.

William T. Young Library

"Perverse Subjects: Becoming Bodies of Literature in the Library"

The second in the “Works in Progress Series” features Melissa Adler, Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science. She will be discussing the introduction to her book manuscript, tentatively titled Perverse Subjects: Becoming Bodies of Literature in the Library. The book provides an account of the ways in which the Library Congress classification standards that organize research libraries in the U.S. and abroad have reproduced normative ideas about sexuality since the beginning of the 20th century. The project challenges these classifications through the lens of perversion, echoing Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s call to become “perverse readers.”

Carol Mason (GWS) and Rusty Barrett (Linguistics) will serve as respondents. Attendees should email CST Director Dr. Marion Rust ( for a copy of Dr. Adler’s paper.

Bingham-Davis House, Gaines Center
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