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Literature and public policy to be discussed at LWC

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By The Staff

Area residents will have two chances next week to hear two views of Kentucky from different corners.

Kentucky Poet Laureate Jane Gentry Vance will speak about "Creating the Soul of Kentucky: Kentucky Poems," on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

And then on Thursday, Feb. 28, Amy L. Watts of the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center will address "Progress and Investments in Kentucky Education: How Far Has Post-Reform Kentucky Progressed and What Are Cost-Effective Next Steps for Continued Progress?"

Vance's talk is part of the 2007-2008 Lindsey Wilson Cultural Affairs Series. Watts' talk is part of the Lindsey Wilson Lecture Series on Civic Engagement. Both talks are free and open to the public.

Vance's talk - which is co-sponsored by the Kentucky Humanities Council - will be at 8 p.m. ET in the Lindsey Wilson W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall.

Former Gov. Ernie Fletcher appointed Vance to serve as Kentucky poet laureate for the 2007-2008 term. As poet laureate, Vance promotes the arts and leads the state in literary endeavors, including Kentucky Writers' Day, which is celebrated April 24 each year, to honor the birth date of Kentucky author Robert Penn Warren, the nation's first poet laureate.

The Kentucky Poet Laureate Program is coordinated and administered by the Kentucky Arts Council, a state agency in the Commerce Cabinet.

Vance (published as Jane Gentry) was born and raised in central Kentucky, which has deeply influenced her writing. She has a distinguished career blending her work as a poet and as an educator.

Vance is the author of "Portrait of the Artist as a White Pig," a collection of 50 poems; "A Year in Kentucky: A Garland of Poems," a collection of 12 poems; and "A Garden in Kentucky," a collection of 60 poems. Her poems have also been published in notable anthologies and journals such as the Sewanee Review, Harvard Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, the American Voice and Humanities in the South. Among the awards Vance has received are: finalist for the Heartland Review Poetry Prize; the Kentucky Arts Council's Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship for poetry (1992 and 2003); a Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellowship; a Yaddo Fellowship and a Voices and Visions grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. Vance began teaching at Georgetown College in 1964, where she taught until joining the University of Kentucky faculty in 1972. She is currently a full professor at UK and a member of the English graduate faculty.

Watts' talk will be at 5 p.m. ET on Feb. 28 in the Thomas D. Clark Reading Room of the Holloway Building.

Watts is a policy analyst with the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center in Frankfort.

Created in 1992 by the General Assembly, the Center serves all branches of state government by helping both state officials and citizens better understand trends and forces that affect Kentucky. The Center's work includes research, policy analysis, strategic planning, communications between the three branches of state government, and public outreach.

Watts has and co-authored publications covering a range of topics, including: the future of postsecondary education to health care coverage, the aging population and regional economic growth. Watts' has been an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky Martin School of Public Policy, and she is currently secretary of the board for the Kentucky Economics Association. Watts has a bachelor's degree in economics from UK and a doctorate in economics from the University of New Mexico with concentrations in econometrics and environmental and natural resource economics.

For more information about the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center, visit www.kltprc.net.

For more information about either talk, contact info@lindsey.edu or (270) 384-8212.