Lexington Author George Ella Lyon Named Next Kentucky Poet Laureate

Mar 13, 2015

Lexington author and educator George Ella Lyon is set to become Kentucky’s 27th poet laureate. Governor Steve Beshear made the announcement official Friday.

George Ella Lyon is Kentucky's new poet laureate.
Credit Bobbie Combs-Kentucky Arts Council

Lyon says one of her missions is to help people hear their own voices, their own stories, and know that they matter. While contributing to the 2014 Reading Appalachia: Voices from Children's Literature exhibit, she had this to say about welcoming new writers into the fold:

"If we were reading poems in here and somebody came in and they had a poem to read, we'd say 'Read.' As opposed to 'What are your qualifications? Who do you know? What have you published? How do we know you're real thing?' Well, you're the real thing because you've got a poem in your hand."

The Harlan native lays claim to more than 40 books, many of which mine her deep connections to mountain region of Eastern Kentucky.

"She is certainly a very accomplished writer, she's an educator, and she has a great fondness for going out and working with the public, and so I think she'll be just great," says Lori Meadows with the Kentucky Arts Council.

George Ella Lyon will officially take over the reins from previous poet laureate Frank X Walker on April 24th at a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.