Created and hosted by Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson, each episode of “Words For The People” features interviews with two Kentucky writers — one established, and one emerging — woven together with writing submitted by LPM’s community of listeners.
The first episode is available now in honor of Kentucky Writers Day. It features former Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker, who coined the term “Affrilachia” and co-founded the Affrilachian Poets. Episode one’s emerging writer is activist and poet Zakia Holland. Future episodes will be released on the fourth Tuesday of each month.
At the end of each episode, Wilkinson gives a writing prompt to inspire listeners to tap into their own creativity. On the show’s website, wordsforthepeople.org, listeners can submit what they create in response to the prompt, and Wilkinson will share them on future episodes and on her social media pages.
“Everyone has meaningful stories inside them, but we don’t always know how to set them loose into the world,” Wilkinson says. “We want to help you free the words that matter.
Laura Ellis, LPM’s director of podcasts and special projects, says she’s excited for readers and writers to hear the show. “I’m so proud Crystal has chosen LPM to help bring her podcast to life. Her mission couldn’t be more perfectly aligned with our own: empowering people to tell their own stories,” Ellis says.
Crystal Wilkinson is available to talk about the podcast, her work as Kentucky Poet Laureate, and the importance of freeing your own story. For interview requests, please contact Laura Ellis at email@example.com.
Wilkinson is the award-winning author of “The Birds of Opulence” (winner of the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence), “Water Street” and “Blackberries, Blackberries.” She recently received the NAACP Image Award for her book, “Perfect Black.” Nominated for both the Orange Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, she has received recognition from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and is a recipient of the Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Wilkinson identifies as a southern, feminist fiction writer and grew up in the hills of Kentucky. She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky and was named the Poet Laureate for Kentucky in 2021.