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Smock to become Kentucky's 28th poet laureate

Apr 28, 2017

Bellarmine University English professor Frederick Smock will become poet laureate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in an induction ceremony on Monday morning at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort.

“In my teaching, I like to bring poetry to everyone,” said Smock, in a news release from the Kentucky Arts Council. “I imagine that will color some of what I do as poet laureate.”

Frederick SmockSmock’s induction ceremony is part of Kentucky Writers’ Day, held annually to celebrate the birthday of Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren, a poet laureate of the United States and winner of three Pulitzer prizes. 

Smock has produced 10 books of poems and essays, and has earned several awards for his writing and teaching, including the 2002 Henry Leadingham Poetry Prize, the 2003 Jim Wayne Miller Prize for Poetry and the 2008 Kentucky Literary Award for Poetry. The Kentucky Arts Council honored him in 1995 with an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in poetry. At Bellarmine, Smock received the 2005 Wilson Wyatt Faculty Award. Learn more about his literary work.

He has been published in journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review and The Southern Review. He is also a frequent contributor of reviews and columns for The Courier-Journal.

Smock has taught at Bellarmine since 1997. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown College and a master’s degree from the University of Louisville.

At poet laureate, Smock succeeds George Ella Lyon, who was appointed in 2015. Smock will serve through the end of 2018. Smock is Kentucky's 28th poet laureate; previous appointees include Jesse Stuart, Sena Jeter Naslund and Frank X. Walker. See all past poet laureates.

According to the arts council, Kentucky’s poet laureate promotes literary arts statewide through readings of their work at events, meetings, seminars and conferences. Nominees must reside in Kentucky, have a long association with the Commonwealth, and have a critically acclaimed body of work that is informed by living in Kentucky. The position is appointed by the governor, in consultation with the arts council, following a public call for nominations and review by an independent panel. 

The Kentucky Arts Council is a state agency responsible for developing and promoting support for the arts in Kentucky. The council is funded by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

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