Kudos: Kentucky native Pulitzer poetry finalist

Poet, Indiana University professor a Pulitzer finalist

April 22, 2011 

Our own Joel Pett isn't the only Kentuckian who was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize this week.

Maurice Walker Manning, who grew up in Danville, was recognized for The Common Man, lauded as "a rich, often poignant collection of poems rooted in rural Kentucky experiencing change in its culture and landscape."

Manning — who has family roots in Clay County, studied at the University of Kentucky, teaches creative writing at Indiana University and pronounces his first name "Morris" — was one of two runners-up to U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan for the Pulitzer in poetry.

Manning is having a great spring. He also bagged a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.

According to an IU press release, he plans to use his Guggenheim to spend the next year in Kentucky writing a new book, tentatively titled The Gone and the Going Away, another poetic meditation on the diminishment of rural life and land.

As the unheralded among us glory in the wonders of a Kentucky spring, which include hiding from violent rain and wind storms, we also can meditate on the pleasures of living in a state that's rich soil for both poets and political cartoonists.

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