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(for Gurney and Anne)

thoroughbred racing
and hee haw
are burdensome images
for Kentucky sons
venturing beyond the mason-dixon

anywhere in Appalachia
is about as far
as you could get
from our house
in the projects
a mutual appreciation
for fresh greens
and cornbread
an almost heroic notion
of family
and porches
makes us kinfolk
but having never ridden
or sidesaddle
and being inexperienced
at cutting
or chewing tobacco
yet still feeling
complete and proud to say
that some of the bluegrass
is black
enough to know
that being 'colored‚ and all
is generally lost
somewhere between
the dukes of hazard
and the beverly hillbillies

if you think
makin‚'shine from corn
is as hard as Kentucky coal
imagine being
an Affrilachian





Frank X Walker's book available on


Affrilachia Cover

Paperback: 112 pages ;
Publisher: Old Cove Press;
(March 1, 2000)

"Finally, a gathering of words that fiercely speaks to what it truly means to grow up African-American in Appalachia. These are not stories of those of us transplanted conveniently into the territory for whatever reason. These poem-stories are from a native Affrilachian heart, more specifically, from the man who first created the word in order to define and not be rendered invisible.

Nikky Finney, author of Rice


View a video clip of Frank X Walker reading "Kentucke" (requires Quicktime)


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