Overview, Blurbs, and Authors Included: What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets


University Press of Kentucky, 2009


What Comes Down To Us features twenty-five of Kentucky’s most accomplished contemporary poets. Together they serve to illustrate the diversity and richness of poetry being written today in the Commonwealth. Although the subject matter of the poems transcends the state’s borders, the collection communicates a strong sense of Kentucky as a place. The book’s introduction places contemporary Kentucky poetry in the context of the state’s rich literary tradition, and the poet biographies include their reflections and, often, their poetic approach and technique.


“A savory sampling of the very good poetry currently being written in Kentucky.”–Paul Zimmer, author of Crossing to Sunlight Revisited

“What Comes Down To Us establishes an important connection between person and place through the poets’ meticulously crafted words, which presents readers with vivid images that act as verbal echoes of life in the Commonwealth.”–UK News

“Accounting for Kentucky’s vibrant literary tradition, especially poetry, is like trying to analyze what makes a delicious burgoo. . . . Maybe our writerly tradition grows from the fact that Kentucky is a place where people know who they are and who their people were, a relatively homogeneous population with an accessible past that has both richness and a darker hue.”–Richard Taylor, former Kentucky poet laureate

Kentucky poets love their commonwealth, its natural beauty, its complex and troubled history, its family stories, as well as the strangeness that runs through all of them like a river. What Comes Down to Us: 25 Contemporary Kentucky Poets brings together a range of poets, from Wendell Berry to Davis McCombs, to give us a regional treat that is, in truth, a national treasure.”–Andrew Hudgins, author of After the Last War: A Narrative and Ecstatic in the Poison: New Poems

“The vibrant voices in What Comes Down to Us are – like each poet’s diction – bold, inventive, evocative and spot-on.”–Louisville Courier Journal

Authors Included:

Wendell Berry
Don Boes
Tony Crunk
Kathleen Driskell
Lynnell Edwards
Nikky Finney
Max Garland
Jane Gentry
Sarah Gorham
Jonathan Greene
James Baker Hall
Marcia Hurlow
Leatha Kendrick
George Ella Lyon
Maurice Manning
Davis McCombs
Vivian Shipley
Aleda Shirley
Jeffrey Skinner
Frederick Smock
Philip St. Clair
Joe Survant
Richard Taylor
Frank X Walker
Jeff Worley