Who says state's not literary?

By ANDREW TANGEL State Journal Staff Writer Published:

They swarmed around the authors crammed into the civic center, even the poets, whose work one might not expect to be hot commodities at a book fair overflowing with prose.

Louisville poet Frederick Smock said the congestion of fair-goers in the poetry section of the third of eight rows belies the perception that Kentuckians don't have a hunger for such artistic literature.

"People like to say that," Smock said. But "Kentucky's a very literary place."

Legendary American poet Walt Whitman said that "great poetry needs a great audience," he added, "and that's what the people in Frankfort have."

The stacks of Smock's poetry books got shorter and shorter as the afternoon wore on. Leonard Slade, a former Kentucky State University professor who teaches in Albany, N.Y., sold all his poetry books hours before the sale ended.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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