Fredrick Smock, Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Dies at 68 – Courier Journal | Candle Made Easy

By Keith L Runyon

Frederick Smock, former Kentucky Poet Laureate and longtime English professor at Bellarmine University, died Sunday of heart problems.

He was 68.

Smock was well known to readers of the Courier Journal, where his book reviews had appeared regularly for more than 35 years. Bellarmine announced his death on Monday.

When Smock was named Poet Laureate in 2017, he stated his goal was to bring poetry to the people of Kentucky.

In an interview with Bellarmine Magazine, he said: “I’m going to go to people and just read poetry out loud,[justaskthemtositdownandrecorditbecausepeopledon’treadmuchpoetryanymoreAndasaneducatorIwanttotalkaboutthejoywehadaschildrenandtrytorecapturesomeofthat”

Friedrich Kittel

In the numerous reviews Smock wrote for that newspaper, he constantly shared his love not only for poetry but also for some of the best prose texts of the second half of the 20th century. What Smock enjoyed most was discovering authors whose names were not common words but who wrote as if they should be.

Smock grew up in Fern Creek, where his father, a radiologist who moved to Louisville from Owensboro, settled his family in the early 1950s. Back then, like much of Jefferson County’s suburbs, the country was undeveloped and young Fred’s imagination blossomed.

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