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Tom Musgrave

Frederick Smock Inducted as Kentucky Poet Laureate

“Poetry speaks to the best that is in us, and it calls our imaginations to action. Poetry teaches empathy.” — Frederick Smock, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2017-18

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 2, 2017) — Joined by fellow writers, friends, students, teachers and state dignitaries, Frederick Smock was inducted as the Kentucky Poet Laureate for 2017-18, May 1 at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort.

Kentucky’s poet laureate is selected biennially and is inducted as part of the Kentucky Arts Council's Kentucky Writers’ Day celebration.

“Poetry speaks to the best that is in us, and it calls our imaginations to action. Poetry teaches empathy,” Smock said in his acceptance of the poet laureate appointment. “The actor Robert De Niro once said, of acting, ‘It lets us inhabit other people’s lives, but without suffering the consequences.’

“I think the same is true of the written arts. They let us know what it feels like to be other people, and, as a result, we empathize and care for others more.”

Smock was installed in front of a crowd of about 50 friends, fellow writers and state dignitaries, including Gov. Matt Bevin.

“The ripple effect of the people that you’ve touched, the lives that you’ve poured into will continue to go on in ways that will be transformative beyond our ability to begin to understand them,” Bevin said. “I’m grateful for the fact that you have, through your writing, encouraged people to take time to look at the little things.”

For more information on the poet laureate, visit the Kentucky Poet Laureate page on the arts council website, or contact Tamara Coffey, arts council individual artists director, at 502-892-3121 or

Frederick Smock

Caption: Frederick Smock, who was inducted May 1 as Kentucky Poet Laureate for 2017-18, addressed a gathering of approximately 50 friends, fellow writers and state dignitaries on Kentucky Writers’ Day.

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The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments 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.