Poetry Out Loud: 2018 Judges


George Ella Lyon Kentucky Poet Laureate for 2015-16
Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, George Ella Lyon is a graduate of Centre College, and holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Arkansas and doctorate in English from Indiana University. She has taught creative writing at Centre College, where she was twice a writer-in-residence; Transylvania University and the University of Kentucky; and has been a visiting writer in Master of Fine Arts programs at Vermont College, Spalding University, Murray State University and Appalachian State University. The author of “Where I’m From,” Lyon is currently engaged in a national I Am From Project and would love to include your art. To learn more, visit

Frederick Smock Kentucky Poet Laureate for 2017-18
Kentucky poet laureate Frederick Smock is a Louisville native. A graduate of Georgetown College and the University of Louisville, he serves as Professor of English at Bellarmine University.

For fifteen years he edited The American Voice, an international literary journal. Those papers are housed in the Duke University Archives. Mr. Smock has published ten books of poems and essays. Two new books are forthcoming – “Book of Earthly Delights”, poems from Larkspur Press; and “On Poetry: Palm-of-the-Hand Essays”, from Broadstone Books.

His awards include the 2002 Henry Leadingham Poetry Prize, the 2003 Jim Wayne Miller Prize for Poetry, the 2005 Bellarmine University Wyatt Faculty Award, and the 2008 Kentucky Literary Award for Poetry. In 1995, the Kentucky Arts Council awarded him the Al Smith Fellowship in Poetry.

Nationally, his work has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Hudson Review, Poetry (Chicago), The Southern Review, Poetry East, Shenandoah, American Poetry Review, Arts & Letters, The Antioch Review, The Bloomsbury Review, and many others.

Internationally, his work has appeared in Russkya Mysl (Russia), Dublin Poetry Review (Ireland), Olivier (Argentina), Art-Interpres (Sweden), and others.

Crystal Wilkinson
Crystal Wilkinson is the author of the novel, “The Birds of Opulence” and two collections of short stories. She is the recipient of the 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, the Judy Gaines Prize and the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature. She has been a finalist for the Hurston Wright Award and the Orange Prize. She and her partner, Ron Davis own Wild Fig Books and Coffee in Lexington, Ky.


Page last updated: February 23, 2018
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