Affrilachian Poets Movement Comes to Knoxville

KNOXVILLE — Award-winning poet Frank X. Walker and the Affrilachian Poets visit the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus next week to read from their recent works. Founded in the early 1990s, the group is made up of Appalachian poets of African descent.

The reading begins at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, March 9, in the Black Cultural Center, rooms 103-104, and will be followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the University Center garage. Campus sponsors include the African Studies Program, the English Department and Ready for the World, UT Knoxville’s international and intercultural awareness initiative.

Poet Frank X. Walker coined the term “Affrilachian” in 1991 after attending a Lexington, Ky., poetry reading that had changed its title from “The Best of Appalachian Writing,” to “The Best of Southern Writing,” after an African-American poet from South Carolina was added to the lineup. Finding in Webster’s Dictionary that the term “Appalachian” referred to “white residents from the mountains,” Walker decided to create his own word that described people of African descent from the Appalachian region: Affrilachian. Since the early 1990s, Walker’s Affrilachian Poets movement has grown to include more than 20 African-American poets from the Appalachian region.

Walker is the author of four poetry collections, most recently “When Winter Come: The Ascension of York” (University Press of Kentucky, 2008). He will be joined at Monday’s event by fellow Affrilachian Poets Bernard Clay, Ricardo Nazario Colon, Norman Jordan, Stephanie Pruitt, Bianca Spriggs and Keith Wilson.

The reading will be preceded by a viewing of the Affrilachian Poets documentary “Coal Black Voices” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 5, in room 213 of Hodges Library. This event is also free and open to the public.

For more information on the Affrilachian poetry movement or the individual poets, see http://www.affrilachianpoets.com/index.html.

Contacts:

Rebekah Winkler (865-974-8304, rwinkler@utkedu)

Bill Hardwig (865-974-6938, whardwig@utk.edu)

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