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Former Kentucky poet laureate Frederick Smock has died


Frederick Smock died on July 17, according to a statement released by Bellarmine University. He was 68 years old.

Smock served as Kentucky poet laureate from 2017 to 2018. Through this role, Smock aimed to “reintroduce the joy of poetry” to people.

Smock worked at Bellarmine University as an English professor and director of creative writing. 

He wrote several collections of poetry including, “Gardencourt,” “The Blue Hour,” and “The Bounteous World.” Additionally, he wrote prose which included published books “Poetry & Compassion: Essays on Art & Craft,” and “Craft-talk: On Writing Poetry.”

Smock was raised in Louisville’s Fern Creek neighborhood. His childhood experiences informed his work as a writer and poet.

In a 2017 interview with WFPL News, Smock explained how walking down his driveway as a child helped him to become a more observant person.

“We always looked, as we walked, for fossils — and we would often find them,” Smock said. “So I think it began a habit early on of noticing things, of being awake and alert, keeping your eyes open, and the same was true whenever we would walk freshly plowed fields. You keep your eyes down, so that you find arrowheads and such like.”

According to Bellarmine’s statement, in accordance with Smock’s wishes, there will be no service planned. The university plans to host a memorial ceremony in the fall when students return to campus.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Breya Jones is the Arts & Culture Reporter for LPM. Email Breya at bjones@lpm.org.