Frank X Walker, who made Kentucky history last year when he became the first African American writer to be named poet laureate of the Bluegrass state, will speak and read from his newest collection of poems, “Turn Me Loose: the Unghosting of Medgar Evers,” which won the NAACP Image Award earlier this year, Thursday in Louisville. Walker is the Diana M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence at Spalding University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Festival of Contemporary Writing this spring. The program starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Brown Hotel and is free and ticketless. A book signing will follow.
Walker is a 2003 graduate of Spalding’s MFA program and the first graduate to serve in the distinguished writer-in-residence role. He’s the recipient of a 2005 Lannan Literary Fellowship and the founder of Pluck! The New Journal of Affrilachian Art and Culture. Walker is an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky and the former director of the Kentucky Governor’s School for the ARts.
Walker is the author of six books of poems. The latest, “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers,” is a collection of persona poems that explores the life and assassination of the civil rights pioneer, who was murdered in Mississippi by Byron de la Beckwith 50 years ago last summer. “Turn Me Loose” was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2013.
Last year, we spoke with Walker about Evers’ legacy and writing in the voices of Evers’ wife and killer.