Crystal Wilkinson, a recent fellowship recipient of the Academy of American Poets, is Kentucky’s Poet Laureate. She is the award-winning author of Perfect Black, a collection of poems, and three works of fiction—The Birds of Opulence , Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. She is the recipient of a 2022 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry, a 2021 O. Henry Prize, a 2020 USA Artists Fellowship, and a 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. She has received recognition from the Yaddo Foundation, Hedgebrook, The Vermont Studio Center for the Arts, The Hermitage Foundation and others. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, STORY, Agni Literary Journal, Emergence, Oxford American and Southern Cultures. Praise Song for the Kitchen Ghosts, a culinary memoir, is forthcoming from Clarkson Potter/Penguin Random House. She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky where she is Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing Program.