Event is free and open to general public; will be held at 5 p.m. in Waterfield Library
MURRAY, Ky. — The Murray State Reading Series, sponsored by the Department of English and Philosophy, is pleased to welcome 2019-20 Kentucky poet laureate Jeff Worley to campus for a reading on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 5 p.m. in Waterfield Library. The event is free and open to the public.
Worley is the author of six books of poetry and an anthology from the University Press of Kentucky titled “What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets.” His book, “The Only Time There Is” (1995), won the Mid-List Press first-book competition. His third, “Happy Hour at the Two Keys Tavern,” was named the 2006 Kentucky Book of the Year in Poetry and nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Worley has received numerous other awards for his writing, including three Al Smith Fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship; over 500 of his poems have appeared in literary magazines and journals in the past 45 years.
“We are excited to host Jeff Worley here on Murray State’s campus,” said Carrie Jerrell, coordinator of the creative writing program at Murray State. “He’s an accomplished writer who brings his rich personal history and travels to bear in his work. He’s a great choice for our state poet laureate, and we’re pleased that he’s including the western region of the state in his tour.”
Worley was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, and was the second graduate, in 1975, of the Wichita State University Master of Fine Arts creative writing program. He has worked as an offset pressman, cab driver, folk singer, university professor and research magazine editor. His first teaching position after graduate school was with the University of Maryland’s European Division. He worked for University of Maryland until 1983, teaching writing courses and American literature, primarily in Heidelberg and Nuremberg. During his eight years with the European Division, he traveled extensively— in Germany, France, England, Spain, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Greece and Yugoslavia.
Worley returned to the United States in 1983 with his wife, Linda, whom he had met in Nuremberg (she also taught with U of M) in 1977. In 1984, Worley became an assistant professor of English at the Penn State Altoona campus. In 1986, Linda took an assistant professorship in German at the University of Kentucky. Wanting to try his hand at something new, Jeff joined the staff of Odyssey, UK’s research magazine, where he wrote feature articles, primarily on hard science and medical research. He became editor of the magazine in 1997. Jeff retired from the University of Kentucky in 2010. He and his wife divide their time between their home in Lexington and their Cave Run Lake cabin.
The Murray State Reading Series spring offerings also includes a reading and craft talk by Allen Wier, novelist and Watkins Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, on Thursday, March 26 at 5 p.m. in Waterfield Library. Akemi Johnson, author of “Night In The American Village: Women in the Shadow of the U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa,” will also read from her work on Monday, April 20 at 5 p.m. in Waterfield Library. All events are free and open to the public. For more information about the Murray State Reading Series, contact Carrie Jerrell at email@example.com or 270-809-4723.