UK Happenings

Celebrated Poet Nikky Finney to Make Virtual Return for Gaines Center’s Bale Boone Symposium

photo of banner for 2020 Bale Boone Symposium featuring Nikky Finney
Award-winning poet Nikky Finney will be the featured speaker of the 2020 Bale Boone Symposium on Oct. 7.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 1, 2020) The University of Kentucky Gaines Center for the Humanities will present celebrated poet and Wallace Stevens Award-winner Nikky Finney as the 2020 Bale Boone Symposium goes virtual this fall. The reading by Finney is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, on Zoom.

"The Gaines Center is focused this year on the theme of citizenship. This theme coincides with a national conversation on the value of Black life and social justice issues that have arisen in the face of incidents in the killing of unarmed Black people," Gaines Center Director Melynda Price said. "Although Professor Finney’s reading was scheduled prior to these events, we cannot think of anyone better to bring to our community. Nikky Finney’s life work, as recognized in her most recent prize, is a master class in the poetics of Black life and really all human beings. We are honored to welcome this friend and former colleague to the Bale Boone symposium."

Finney, the 2011 National Book Award winner, was a UK English professor for 23 years, a founding member of The Affrilachian Poets and a faculty member at Cave Canem. Just last week, she was presented the Stevens Award recognizing her artistic achievement as a poet.

As the featured Bale Boone Symposium speaker Finney will read from her new book, titled “Love Child’s Hotbed of Occasional Poetry” (April 15, 2020). In addition to the poems, the book includes hotbeds, a horticulture term introducing her readers to her journals, the place where most of her poems have always found their calcium and strong knees. There are also artifacts, images and photographs, that assist the words in composing how the writer’s poet-life came to be.

Finney currently serves as the John H. Bennett Jr. Endowed Professor of Creative Writing and Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina.

Through the Bale Boone Symposium, the Gaines Center promotes dialogue, intellectual exploration, and partnerships among campus, Bluegrass and Commonwealth communities by sponsoring an array of public humanities and arts events. These events are a testament to the influence and memory of Joy Bale Boone and George Street Boone, who were committed to the betterment of the humanities. The Bale Boone Symposium is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To register for the Bale Boone Symposium reading by Nikky Finney click here.

Founded in 1984 by a generous gift from John and Joan Gaines, the Gaines Center for the Humanities functions as a laboratory for imaginative and innovative education on UK's campus. The center is devoted to cultivating an appreciation of the humanities in its students and faculty. The Gaines Center embraces varied paths of knowledge and particularly strives to integrate creative work with traditional academic learning.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.