Showcasing the Arts

Featured Artist:
Maurice Manning


Michelle Hayden
Maurice Manning is a former Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship.
Maurice Manning has published eight collections of poetry, most recently, “Railsplitter.” His first book, “Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions,” was selected by W.S. Merwin for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. His fourth book, “The Common Man,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His poems and essays have appeared in Time, Garden & Gun, Commonweal, Ploughshares, The Sewanee Review, and The New Yorker. Manning is a former Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. Manning is professor of English and Writer-in-Residence at Transylvania University. He lives with his family on a small farm in Washington County.

Artist’s statement:

Both sides of my family were among the early settlers of Kentucky. That has always made me particularly drawn to Kentucky history, especially the complexities of that history. Beyond the rich history of our Commonwealth, however, we have our geography, our landscape and watersheds, our native plants and creatures. How human beings have managed to live in our place, through struggle and compassion, is a source of wonder and therefore nurtures any poem I attempt. I am also interested in the rhythms of our local speech, as well as the color of our language. I recently read an account from 40 years ago of a local man whose house had burned down. He was reported to say, “There ain’t a sprig of nothing left but tin.” That’s a sentence of perfect iambic pentameter, the sort of thing poets like to hear. There is music in our local speech and I have always felt lucky to hear it.


Maurice Manning
Springfield, Ky.


Page last updated: March 13, 2020
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