Frank X Walker of Lexington, Kentucky, became the first African-American Poet Laureate in Kentucky when Governor Steve Beshear appointed him to the two-year position in 2013.
Born in Danville, Kentucky, he coined the term “Affrilachian” to describe the work of black writers and artists from Appalachia.. He has written a book on Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers and published eight books of poetry.
Mr. Walker has served as a professor in the Department of English, African American and African Studies at the University of Kentucky. He has degrees from the University of Kentucky and Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. He also has honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Kentucky, Spalding University and Transylvania University.
Frank X Walker is the founder of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture. His work on Medgar Evers, “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers,’’ won the 2014 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry. He also won the Lillian Smith book Award I for authoring “Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York,’’ about the life of the black man from Louisville, Kentucky who worked alongside Lewis and Clark during their exploration of unchartered territory west of St. Louis, Mo., in the early 1800s .
Mr. Walker has conducted more than 400 poetry readings, lectures and workshops around the world. From Derry, Northern Ireland to Santiago, Cuba to Shanghi and Beijing, China to Mainz, Germany to Toronto, Canada to Lincoln Center in New York to the University of California at Berkely to Appalachain State University. Mr. Walker has been a proponent of civil and human rights, education and the spoken word.