by Gail Hairston
(May 28, 2014) — Kentucky Poet Laureate Frank X Walker was recently honored by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) as the recipient of the 2014 Honor Book for Poetry for his “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers: Poems.” The 2014 BCALA Literary Awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African-American authors published in 2013.
“This honor is extra special to me because of the reverence I have for libraries and librarians,” Walker said. “When I was a kid I wanted to grow up and drive the bookmobile. Recently, the Boyle County Public Library made my dream come true. They let me drive their bookmobile to a local school where I read to a classroom of young students.”
Earlier this year, Walker, associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky, was awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry for "Turn Me Loose."
“Turn Me Loose” recounts the assassination of 1963 civil rights leader Medgar Evers with haunting poetry, all told through the eyes of those who loved and hated him the most, including Byron De La Beckwith, the white supremacist who murdered Evers. Listen online to Walker reading from his work on a radio program produced by Lexington's NPR affiliate, WUKY 88.1 FM.