Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Proud Kentuckian

The National Book Award winners were announced last night and Kentuckian Nikky Finney's "Head Off & Split" was named the best in the poetry category.

Although a native of South Carolina, she's lived in Kentucky for the past 20 years. A creative writing professor at the University of Kentucky, Finney has written four volumes of poetry. She's also the author of "Heartwood," a collection of short stories.

I realize that every state can lay claim to distinguished writers. Being a Kentuckian, I'm proud of our literary heritage.

Wendell Berry, a renowned essayist, poet, and novelist, was recently presented the National Humanities Medal.

Other living luminaries include Sena Jeter Naslund, Bobbie Ann Mason, Gwyn Hyman Rubio, Barbara Kingsolver, Kim Edwards, Sue Grafton, Karen Robards, Silas House, and Teresa Medeiros. And there are more.

Our most distinguished writer was the late Robert Penn Warren, the only three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize (two for poetry, one for fiction). He also won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1958, and was later named the first Poet Laureate of the United States.

Some of his contemporaries include Elizabeth Madox Roberts, Allen Tate, James Still, Jesse Stuart, Janice Holt Giles, A.B. Guthrie Jr., and Harriette Simpson Arnow. And there are more.

And I can't leave out the late and great Hunter S. Thompson, a novelist and father of Gonzo journalism.

Until the next time...

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