Kentucky

In 1926, Kentucky established a state poet laureate position, which is currently held by Frederick Smock, who was appointed to a two-year term in 2017. Smock is the author of many collections of poetry, including The Bounteous World: New Poems (Broadstone Books, 2013).

recent & featured listings

type namesort ascending state
Writing Program Western Kentucky University Kentucky
Literary Magazine The Louisville Review Kentucky
Literary Organization The Kentucky State Poetry Society Kentucky
Literary Organization The Carnegie Center Kentucky
Literary Organization The Affrilachian Poets Kentucky
Small Press Sarabande Books Kentucky
Poetry-Friendly Bookstore Robie Books Kentucky
Landmark Robert Penn Warren Birthplace Museum Kentucky
Poetry-Friendly Bookstore Poor Richard's Bookstore Kentucky
Poetry-Friendly Bookstore Lincoln's Loft Kentucky

poems

poem

[ A ]

Long ago, in Kentucky, I, a boy, stood
By a dirt road, in first dark, and heard
The great geese hoot northward.

I could not see them, there being no moon
And the stars sparse.  I heard them.

I did not know what was happening in my heart.

It was the season before the elderberry blooms,
Therefore
poem

—For Mammoth Cave National Park

Humongous cavern, tell me, wet limestone, sandstone caprock,
      bat-wing, sightless translucent cave shrimp,

this endless plummet into more of the unknown,
                            how one keeps secrets for so long.

All my life, I’ve lived

2
poem

to Ken Kesey & Ken Babbs

Clumsy at first, fitting together
the years we have been apart,
and the ways.

But as the night
passed and the day came, the first
fine morning of April,

it came clear:
the world that has tried us
and showed us its joy

was our bond
when we said nothing