Nikky Finney, Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor of English at the University of Kentucky, won the National Book Award for Poetry. She was honored for her book Head Off & Split (Northwestern University Press, 2011).
Finney is a native of South Carolina and graduated from Talladega College. She began her career as a photographer. Her first book of poems, On Wings Made of Gauze, was published in 1985. Her other collections include Rice (1995) and The World Is Round (2004).
Finney joined the faculty at the University of Kentucky in 1989 and was named full professor in 2005. She has held visiting professor positions at Berea College and Smith College.