This special hour-long edition of bookclub@ket celebrates National Poetry Month with a salute to Kentucky’s own deep and broad poetic tradition. It features a discussion of works by five diverse contemporary Kentucky poets with Amanda Johnston, an Elizabethtown poetry performer; Lynn Shaffer, an instructor at Maysville Community College; host Bill Goodman; and regular bookclub panelists Art Wrobel and Jonathan Allison. In addition, the program offers taped readings by four of the featured poets, a segment with writer Mary Ann Taylor-Hall reading from the fifth book, and comments on Kentucky poetry by former state Poet Laureate James Baker Hall.
• Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York by Frank X Walker
• Living in the Resurrection by T. Crunk
• Sleeping Late on Judgment Day by Jane Mayhall
• Ultima Thule by Davis McCombs
• The World Is Round by Nikky Finney
The Affrilachian Poets
Frank X Walker coined the term “Affrilachia” after finding a dictionary entry defining “Appalachian” as “a white inhabitant of Appalachia.” He founded the Affrilachian Poets—of which Nikky Finney is another noted member—as a support and feedback group for writers of color from the region.
• Coal Black Voices, a documentary about the group
• Soul in them there hills, an article about its founding
• Definition of Appalachian differs from racial makeup of region, a February 2003 article from the Ohio University Post
The Yale Series of Younger Poets
Both Living in the Resurrection (1995) and Ultima Thule (2000) won this prestigious prize. In 2001, the winner was Maurice Manning’s Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions—making it three Kentucky winners in seven years. Lawrence Booth was our April 2002 selection.
Kentucky poetry links from the Academy of American Poets
• Points to Ponder—general poetry discussion questions
• A novel by featured commentator James Baker Hall was our February 2003 selection. We have also read two books by Mary Ann Taylor-Hall, who appears in the program (and is married to James): the novel Come and Go, Molly Snow in August 1999 and the short story collection How She Knows What She Knows About Yo-Yos in August 2004.
• Looking for a poetry study opportunity—or a good excuse to visit Ireland? Our own Jonathan Allison directs the W.B. Yeats International Summer School in Sligo.
... and a Historical Footnote
Buffalo Dance is told in the imagined words of York, the African-American slave who was a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. And a section of Ultima Thule is told in the imagined words of Stephen Bishop, another slave who became Mammoth Cave’s most famous explorer and guide. In real life, Bishop’s owner during most of his Mammoth Cave career, John Croghan, was a nephew of York’s “Massa,” William Clark.