Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Casey Countian Crystal Wilkinson: Arts Council's Featured Artist

By Tom Musgrave

Frankfort, KY - Crystal Wilkinson has been selected as the Kentucky Arts Council's Featured Artist for March and April. The poet has written three award-winning novels, and received a Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship for literary arts in 1997.

"My writing is rooted in the rural experience and all its complexities, anchored in the landscape itself. I write with an eye and ear on the curative powers nature holds in black lives both historical and contemporary," Wilkinson said. "Black Appalachians are invisible to a generation that wrongly sometimes conflates 'black' with 'urban' and 'white' with 'Appalachian.' I want readers to see us, hear us and, in the process, learn something about themselves."

Wilkinson currently resides in Lexington, but has strong roots in Casey Co., KY. From her Wikipedia page:
Born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1962, Crystal Wilkinson was brought to her grandparents' farm in Indian Creek, Kentucky (about three miles east of Middleburg, Kentucky) when she was six weeks old. The only African American family in the area and like many farmers in Appalachia, Silas Wilkinson grew cash crops of tobacco and corn and produced sorghum molasses; and, given the few jobs available for African-American women in eastern Kentucky, Christine Wilkinson cleaned and cooked in the homes of the local schoolteachers of Casey County. Wilkinson wrote that she "lived an enchanted childhood" and that her grandparents "gave me the freedom to explore the countryside and to write, to dream, to discover." She wrote about her childhood and her upbringing in her award-winning book, Blackberries, Blackberries.

Wilkinson's tenure as Featured Artist will include April, National Poetry Month, the celebrated birth month of American Poet Laureate and Kentucky native Robert Penn Warren, who was born April 24. That day is traditionally celebrated as Kentucky Writers' Day.

Wilkinson is currently featured on the arts council's website at The page currently includes a story about Wilkinson and contact information for the artist.

More information about Wilkinson is available on Wikipedia:

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.

This story was posted on 2018-03-08 09:55:45
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by Linda Waggener and Pen Waggener, PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia Magazine. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.