Frank X Walker, an award-winning poet and teacher, will deliver the annual Founders Day address at Centre College on Jan. 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. in Newlin Hall of the Norton Center for the Arts. As part of the Founders Day ceremony, Centre will award him the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.
Walker is perhaps best known as co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets, a society of writers of color with ties to the 13-state Appalachian region. He coined the term “Affrilachian” in 1991 after noticing that African American experiences and contributions to Appalachian culture seemed to be “invisible.” The word is now an entry in the Oxford American Dictionary.
Walker earned a degree in English at the University of Kentucky, where he currently teaches, and an M.F.A. at Spalding University. He was Kentucky Poet Laureate 2013-14.
He has written eight collections of poetry, most recently The Affrilachian Sonnets and About Flight. He is co-producer of the video documentary Coal Black Voices: The History of the Affrilachian Poets.
Innovative and imaginative, Walker defines artistry broadly: barbers, cooks and children are as likely as designers and sculptors to enrich our world. “Every day, our streets and school buses become art galleries in the form of perfectly spiked hair, zigzagging cornrows, and dizzying shoelace artistry,” he said in a This I Believe essay on NPR in 2006.
Centre received its charter from the Kentucky legislature 198 years ago on Jan. 21, 1819.
by Diane Johnson
January 10, 2017