Exploring the rich literary soil nurturing "Affrilachia's" roots

Campus News | March 10, 2016

Frank X Walker

(March 10, 2016) – Carson-Newman University will host award-winning poet and educator Frank X Walker on Monday, March 21. The 7 p.m. event is sponsored by the Appalachian Cultural Center on campus and will be held in Thomas Recital Hall.

The evening, which is free and open to the public, will celebrate the diverse voices that represent Appalachia. Walker will read from some of his works and speak to the topics they touch on.

Described as a multidisciplinary artist, Walker is co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets. He is credited in coining the word "Affrilachia," a term that speaks to the importance of the African-American presence in Appalachia.

"A dedicated teaching artist, Walker challenges us to recognize artists of color who are part of the past, present, and promising future of Appalachia," said Dr. Jennifer Hall, director of Carson-Newman's Appalachian Cultural Center. "As in the quilts our grandmothers made, our individual squares, our stories matter. But when sewn together, those same quilts reveal how interwoven, diverse, and beautiful our Appalachian region is."

The Danville, Kentucky, native has lectured, conducted workshops, read poetry, and exhibited at over 300 national conferences and universities including the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry, Northern Ireland; Santiago, Cuba; University of California at Berkeley; Notre Dame; Louisiana State University at Alexandria and University of Washington.

Walker is the author of four poetry collections with his "Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York" earning the Lillian Smith Book Award. A 2005 recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry, Walker serves as writer in residence and lecturer of English at Northern Kentucky University and is editor and publisher of "PLUCK!, the new Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture." He also serves on faculty at the University of Kentucky.

A former poet laureate for the state of Kentucky, Walker has appeared on television in PBS's GED Connection Series, "Writing: Getting Ideas on Paper," "In Performance at the Governor's Mansion" and in "Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky."

Thomas Recital Hall is located in the University's Tarr Music Center on Russell Avenue in Jefferson City.