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Acclaimed poet, social activist Frank X. Walker to give reading at APSU

Frank X. Walker, an award-winning poet, grew up in Appalachia at a time when the areas minority writers consistently saw their work marginalized. Years later, when Walker began publishing his own poems, he decided to challenge this notion of an all-white literary landscape in this region.
Frank X. Walker, an award-winning poet, grew up in Appalachia at a time when the area's minority writers consistently saw their work marginalized. Years later, when Walker began publishing his own poems, he decided to challenge this notion of an “all-white literary landscape in this region.”

“As a co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets and the creator of the word ‘Affrilachia,' I believe it is my responsibility to say as loudly and often as possible that people and artists of color are part of the past and present of the multi-state Appalachian region extending from northern Mississippi to southern New York,” he said in an artist statement.

“As a writer/observer/truth teller, I choose to focus on social justice issues as well as multiple themes of family, identity and place. I also accept the dual responsibility of existing as a teaching artist and making a commitment to the identification and development of the next generation of young writers and artists.”

He'll get to do just that at 7 p.m. on July 13, when he visits Austin Peay State University's Gentry Auditorium for a reading and book signing. The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Tennessee Young Writers' Workshop, which brings seventh through 12th-grade students to the APSU campus for a week each summer to explore their interest in writing.

The event will provide the students, and interested Clarksville residents, with the opportunity to hear one of the leading artistic voices working in the country today.

"The work of Frank X Walker is an eclectic, powerful mixture of liberating style, profound insight and unwavering organic connection to the intellectual, political and cultural struggles of a people,” Ricky L. Jones, author of “Black Haze,” said. “He stands in the tradition of DuBois, McKay, Robeson, Hughes and other great writers, poets and performers whose contributions have transcended time and space to give generation after generation pause and hope.”

Walker is the author of four poetry collections: “When Winter Come: the Ascension of York” (University Press of Kentucky, 2008); “Black Box” (Old Cove Press, 2005); “Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York” (University Press of Kentucky, 2003), which won the Lillian Smith Book Award in 2004; and “Affrilachia” (Old Cove Press, 2000). A 2005 recipient of the Lannan Literary Fellowship in Poetry, Walker serves as writer in residence and lecturer of English at Northern Kentucky University and is the editor and publisher of PLUCK!, the new Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture.

The Gentry Auditorium is located in the Kimbrough Building at the corners of Eighth and Marion streets. Parking is free and available across the street from the Kimbrough Building.

For more information, contact Susan Wallace with the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts at 221-7031 or wallacess@apsu.edu. -- Charles Booth