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Frank X. Walker's Poet Laureate Celebration

April 24, 2013 Lyric Theatre A native of Danville, Kentucky, Frank X Walker is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and he also completed an MFA in Writing at Spalding University. After being nurtured by UK professors that included Nikky Finney, Gurney Norman, the late James Baker Hall, Sandra Govan, Edgar Tidwell, Charles Rowell and visiting professors like Ai and Percival Everett, Walker created a new word, Affrilachia – a word that identified the African American experience in the Appalachian region. It was a word that allowed the invisible to become visible. Frank and a group of his writing friends founded the Affrilachian Poets, and an entire Affrilachian literary movement that prides itself in giving voice to previously muted and silenced people and promotes excellence in teaching, writing, art and activism. Frank, now the fourth professor from the UK English Department to earn the accolade of poet laureate, is also the youngest, as well as the first African American. As poet laureate, Frank will promote the arts and lead the state in literary endeavors through readings and public presentations at meetings, seminars, conferences and events – but for Frank it is most importantly a chance to teach and educate. Frank is driven by his passion of bringing more attention to prominent African-American writers in Appalachia, both past and present. Photography by: Dana Rogers