FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker is among the nominees announced this week for the 45th annual NAACP Image Awards. Walker was nominated in the category of Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry, for his latest book, "Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers."
The NAACP Image Awards highlight achievements in art, entertainment, politics and culture. The nominees and winners of the Image Awards are selected by a group of NAACP members.
"I was excited to find out about the nomination, though it was immediately muted by the news of the death of one of my favorite poets, Amiri Baraka," said Walker. "I have continued to feel pride to experience how the country and readers have responded to 'Turn Me Loose.' I hoped for as much. I feel like Medgar Evers' significance and legacy deserves it and I am truly honored that an organization he treasured sees some value in my humble effort."
Published by the University of Georgia Press in 2013, the year marking the 50th anniversary of Evers' assassination, "Turn Me Loose" unleashes the strong emotions both before and after the moment of Evers' death. Poems take on the voices of Evers' widow, Myrlie; his brother, Charles; his assassin, Byron De La Beckwith; and others. Evers was an NAACP field secretary at the time of his death.
Gov. Steve Beshear named Walker as Kentucky poet laureate for 2013-14. Walker is an associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky and the editor of Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. A Lannan Literary Fellowship for Poetry recipient, he is the author of six collections of poetry, including "Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York," which won the Lillian Smith Book Award, and "Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate This Ride."
"Since being named poet laureate, Frank X Walker has traveled the state and nation educating communities through his writing and personal experiences about the many ways art can be used to interpret and transform life," said Lori Meadows, executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council, which coordinates the state's poet laureate program. "We congratulate Frank on his award nomination and look forward to seeing what the future holds for one of our most important and beloved Kentucky writers."
NAACP Image Awards are announced Friday, Feb. 21, for non-televised categories. Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest civil rights organization. More information about the NAACP Image Awards and the poetry nominees is available on the awards website: http://www.naacpimageawards.net.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.