Axton Reading Series Opens with Poet Laureate

Kentucky’s poet laureate will read from her new book in the Axton Reading Series at the University of Louisville tomorrow.

Morehead will read from her new collection of poems, “Late August Blues: the Daylily Poems,” in U of L’s Ekstrom Library, in the Chao Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Morehead is also the author of “In a Yellow Room,” “Our Brothers’ War,” “A Sense of Time Left” and “The Melancholy Teacher.” She teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at Spalding University.

Since taking the office of poet laureate in April 2011, Morehead says she’s logged about 30,000 miles on her car traveling around Kentucky to give readings and talks on literature and literacy.

“I’ve gotten to meet people all over the state who love literature. There are pockets of people everywhere. Last night there was a large audience at Northern Kentucky University,” says Morehead.

“There have been audiences in Jackson, Kentucky; and Pippa Passes, Kentucky; and Paducah and Hopkinsville. It’s been nice connecting with people who like what I do and who are doing it themselves, either teaching or writing or just reading,” she adds.

Morehead’s latest book is “Late August Blues: The Daylily Poems,” a gently melancholy collection of persona poems in the vein of Edgar Lee Masters’s “Spoon River Anthology.”

The collection is illustrated by Carolyn Whitesel and published by Kentucky’s Larkspur Press, which is owned and operated by celebrated letterpress publisher Gray Zeitz. Zeitz is the recipient of a 2012 Governor’s Award in the Arts

Morehead named the characters in her poems after different types of daylilies growing in her husband’s garden. Daylily varieties carry human names, like James Marsh and Mary Todd, and Morehead took the inspiration for her human characters from the flowers’ shapes and names.

“Because at the time I was writing the poems for (her previous collection) ‘The Melancholy Teacher,’ so many of these poems end up having to do with education, the people in education, the ideas in education,” says Morehead.  

Morehead’s poet laureate term will continue through April, when the new poet laureate will be inaugurated. Nominations for the next poet laureate are being accepted by the Kentucky Arts Council through September 30. 

Comments