Poetry Unites picks Kentucky because it has been ‘a writerly state’ for generations

You can imagine we get lots and lots of press releases coming through email and normally many of them we can set aside as a “group or individual just wanting some free promotion.” One this week appeared to be much the same but when I asked for some clarification on what the group wanted, the response contained some magic words:

“I learned that those who read poetry read also local newspapers.” And so it began.

The release is about the Poetry Unites Kentucky project and Kentucky Poet Laureate Jeff Worley issuing the following call to Kentucky residents:

“Kentucky has always been rich in stories even before statehood when it was the new American frontier in the 18th century.”

An ongoing film project, called Poetry Unites America, has picked Kentucky for its next film in the series—Poetry Unites Kentucky. Poetry Unites New York and Poetry Unites Kansas have been completed and can be found on the web.

Any Kentucky resident can submit an essay, a personal story, focused on a poem that you love, a poem that has changed your life. How did you find this poem?  Why did it affect you so intensely?  How has it mattered in your life?

Personal essays should be limited to  600 words and should be mailed  to poetryunites@gmail.com by September 5.

The poet Jim Wayne Miller called Kentucky “a writerly state,” and for good reason: our state has inspired generations of writers and authors. 

There is no submission fee for this contest.  Four winners, selected by a panel of award-winning writers, will be chosen for film segments in Poetry Unites Kentucky.”

The project begins with the launch of a statewide contest for the best essay on a favorite poem. The judges, prominent poets and educators from Kentucky and New York City, select four winners who are featured in a half-hour documentary, directed by Ewa Zadrzynska.

The film will show the lives of everyday Kentuckians enriched by their love of poetry. The project shows how much we all have in common, surmounting religious, political, cultural differences through poetry and art. Kentucky is one of three states, along with New York and Kansas, to be featured in the series to date.

The project is being conducted in collaboration with Jeff Worley. Distinguished American poet and Guggenheim Foundation president Edward Hirsch has agreed to serve as one of the judges as well as former Kentucky Poet Laureate Richard Taylor. Louisville-based poet and teacher Hannah Drake, as well as Shelda Hale, a Lexington-based writer and poet are to be the other judges.

We are planning to launch the Poetry Unites Kentucky contest in June 2020. The project will conclude with an awards gala and film screening in the beginning of 2021, either through ZOOM or in person, if conditions permit.

Below are two files: the news release and the timeline for the Poetry Unites Kentucky. We’ve also posted it on www.accesskpa.com. That’s a website you should check regularly anyway because it’s where we post news releases for your use.

Press Release Kentuckyrev

Timeline for Poetry Unites Kentucky project from June 2020 to April 2021 copy

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