Reading Series welcomes Crystal Wilkinson, Kentucky poet laureate

Reading Series welcomes Crystal Wilkinson, Kentucky poet laureate

By Alex Pologruto | Aug 25, 2022

Crystal Wilkinson reading series poster

The Murray State University Reading Series will welcome Crystal Wilkinson, acclaimed author and current Kentucky poet laureate, to campus for a reading on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center Ballroom.

MURRAY, Ky. – The Murray State University Reading Series will welcome Crystal Wilkinson, acclaimed author and current Kentucky poet laureate, to campus for a reading on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Curris Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

Crystal Wilkinson is the award-winning author of Perfect Black, a collection of poems, and three works of fiction – The Birds of Opulence, Water Street, and Blackberries, Blackberries. She is the recipient of a 2022 NAACP Image Award for outstanding poetry, a 2021 O. Henry Prize, a 2020 USA Artists Fellowship, and a 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for literary excellence. She has received recognition from the Yaddo Foundation, Hedgebrook, The Vermont Studio Center for the Arts, The Hermitage Foundation and others.

Wilkinson’s short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, STORY, Agni Literary Journal, Emergence, Oxford American and Southern Cultures. Praise Song for the Kitchen Ghosts, a culinary memoir, is forthcoming from Clarkson Potter/Penguin Random House in August 2023. She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky where she is an associate professor of English in the master of fine arts creative writing program.

“Wilkinson’s poetry and prose speaks in powerful images and stirring language to concerns that will resonate with anyone who has spent any significant time in this part of the world: family, connection to the land and community and the often fraught efforts to build more just and more compassionate relationships with those we live among,” said Dr. Jeff Osborne, professor of English at Murray State and one of the event organizers. “Her visit is an exciting opportunity to engage with an artist who knows intimately heartbreak and joy, secrecy and vulnerability, and how homes, families and friendships are broken and made.”

The Murray State Reading Series is sponsored by the Department of English and Philosophy. Additional support for Wilkinson’s reading is provided by Murray State’s Office of Multicultural Initiatives and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

For more information about this event please contact Carrie Jerrell, creative writing program coordinator, at cjerrell1@murraystate.edu or call 270-809-4723. For visitor parking information for the event please contact the Murray State Parking Services either at 270-809-4812, by email at msu.parkingoffice@murraystate.edu or visit the Parking Services website at murraystate.edu/parking.

To learn more about the Department of English and Philosophy and the creative writing program please visit

the following websites: murraystate.edu/creativewriting and murraystate.edu/english and follow them on

Instagram at instagram.com/murraystatecreativewriting/ and on Facebook at facebook.com/MURRAYSTATEENGLISHANDPHILOSOPHY/.

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