Campus News

Jeff Worley Edits Book of Contemporary KY Poets


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2009) − With its location in the heart of the United States, Kentucky reflects a unique combination of the surrounding regional cultures. Serving as the "melting pot" of America, Kentucky is one of the culturally richest states in the country, a quality that is reflected in the literature of those who call it home. With this resource in mind, the University of Kentucky's Jeff Worley set out to highlight the Commonwealth's vast poetry talents in a new book from University Press of Kentucky.

In "What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets," Kentucky poet Jeff Worley compiles a dynamic and powerful collection of poems by 25 of the state's most recognized poets. Each poet in the collection is considered a "Kentucky poet" in that they live and write in the state and that Kentucky informs their work. The poems published in the book examine a variety of subjects including, joy, death, family relationships and Kentucky history.

Each poet Worley selected has published at least two collections and has maintained an active literary presence in the state. The featured poetry has been honored on the local, state and national level, and the included poets regularly place poems in regional or national literary magazines.

The volume presents more than 100 poems from prominent Kentuckians such as agrarian activist Wendell Berry, Eastern Kentucky writer George Ella Lyon and Affrilachian poet Frank X Walker, providing a wide-ranging variety of perspectives on life in the Bluegrass. Worley presents each poet chronologically, and a short biography accompanies each poet's work.

"What Comes Down to Us" establishes an important connection between person and place through the poets’ meticulously crafted words, which presents readers with vivid images that act as verbal echoes of life in the Commonwealth. This anthology serves as an important addition to Kentucky literature and is sure to whet the appetites of poetry enthusiasts and beginners alike.

Worley is the author of three poetry collections including "The Only Time There Is," which won the Mid-List Press first book competition in 1995, "A Simple Human Motion," and "Happy Hour at the Two Keys Tavern," which was named 2006 Kentucky Book of the Year in poetry. His poems have been published widely, and he won the Atlanta Review 2002 grand prize for the poem "His Funeral." At UK, Worley serves as the editor of Odyssey Magazine, the university's magazine on research and scholarship.

This weekend, Worley will participate in a local book signing for "What Comes Down to Us." Individuals can hear a reading and have Worley sign their copy starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, located in Lexington Green.