Gurney Norman Named Poet Laureate, Inducted on Kentucky Writers’ Day
Gov. Steve Beshear has named Gurney Norman the state’s poet laureate for a two-year term. Over the past 30 years, Norman has been a major force in the literary and cultural renaissance throughout the state and region. He played a role in founding the Appalachian Poetry Project and helped establish the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative. A charter member of the Hindman Settlement School’s annual Writers Workshop faculty, he’s still involved in the workshop as senior writer in residence.
Norman’s first novel, Divine Right’s Trip, was originally published in the margins of the Last Whole Earth Catalog, which sold 2 million copies worldwide. He has published numerous books and essays and written and narrated three documentary films about Kentucky’s Appalachian region for KET.
Born in 1937 in Grundy, Va., Norman graduated from Stuart Robinson School in Letcher Co. He majored in journalism and English at the University of Kentucky, studied writing at Stanford University and lived in the San Francisco area from 1967 to 1979. He then joined the UK English Department faculty, where he is director of the Creative Writing Program.
The Kentucky Arts Council coordinates the poet laureate nomination and selection process for recommendation to the governor. The designee must be a resident of Kentucky and have received critical acclaim for literary work.
Norman replaces Jane Gentry Vance, a Lexington poet and UK English professor.
Frankfort’s Barbara Gooding Wins State’s Poetry Out Loud Contest
Barbara Gooding, a junior at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, emerged as the winner among 26 commonwealth high school students who competed in the fourth annual Poetry Out Loud state finals today, presented by the Kentucky Arts Council and hosted by Western Hills High School in Frankfort.
Gooding will receive $200 and a trip to the national finals Apr. 27-28 in Washington, D.C.
Kentucky Wins ‘What Book Got You Hooked’ Campaign
Kentucky will receive 50,000 books to will be distributed to registered groups throughout the commonwealth through a national campaign hosted by First Book. The “What Book Got You Hooked” campaign invited readers everywhere to celebrate the power of unforgettable books from childhood by providing new books to children.
For the last two years, First Book has asked visitors to its Web site to share memories of books that made them readers and vote for the state to receive 50,000 new books. Kentucky won the competition with more than 94,000 of the 250,000 votes cast. The Kentucky book distribution will take place in April in Louisville.
First Book provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books – and has distributed more than 60 million free and low-cost books in thousands of communities.