Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has appointed Frank X Walker as the state’s poet laureate. Walker is an associate professor in the department of English at the University of Kentucky. He also serves as director of the university’s African American and Africana studies program. Professor Walker will be formally installed as poet laureate this April in a public ceremony held in the rotunda of the state capitol in Frankfort.
Professor Walker is credited with coining the term “Affrilachia,” to refer to the Black presence and culture of the Appalachian Mountain region. The term has been included as an entry in the Oxford Dictionary.
One of Walker’s four collections of poetry has the title Affrilachia (Old Cove Press, 2000). He is the editor and publisher of Pluck! Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture.
Walker has taught at the University of Kentucky since 2010. He previously served on the faculty at Northern Kentucky University and Eastern Kentucky University and had terms as a visiting professor at the University of Louisville and Transylvania University.
Professor Walker is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, with a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned a master of fine arts degree from Spaulding University in Louisville.