Former Kentucky Poet Laureate to speak at UofL


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Former Poet Laureate of Kentucky Lee Pennington will celebrate National Poetry Month at the University of Louisville.

    Pennington will read from his book “Songs of Bloody Harlan” at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in Archives and Special Collections in Ekstrom Library, outside the Lee and Joy Pennington Gallery.

    This is Pennington’s fourth annual reading in honor of National Poetry Month. Archives and Special Collections will mount an exhibit of Lee’s work in conjunction with the reading. The exhibit includes vintage editions of Pennington’s books, original art by illustrator and artist Jill Baker, and photographs and newspaper accounts detailing events from Pennington’s life.

    Pennington, who was appointed Poet Laureate of Kentucky in 1984, is a native of Eastern Kentucky. In the 1960s, he taught creative writing at Southeast Community College in Harlan County where he gathered his students’ poems about their lives in Harlan County and published them in the book “Tomorrow’s People.”

    The publication of “Tomorrow’s People” generated controversy in the county from those who didn’t agree with some of the poems; Pennington faced threats and was fired from his job. In 1975, Pennington used that experience to honor his former students and what they went through in “Songs of Bloody Harlan.”

    The reading is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. The event is hosted by UofL Archives and Special Collections.

    Erica Walsh
    Erica Walsh is the marketing director for the Office of Communications and Marketing. Her job lets her share UofL’s good news in all avenues of communications including UofL Magazine, advertising, content marketing and branding. Walsh joined UofL in 2014 after previously serving as the public relations specialist at Indiana University Southeast. Prior to her career in higher education communications she was an award-winning newspaper reporter. Red is one of her favorite colors and it’s a good thing, too, because she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University and her master’s in communication from UofL.