The Beat: Bernard Clay and Joseph Seamon Cotter Sr.

Knox Pods

Nov 30 2022 • 8 mins

Bernard Clay was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and he spent most of his childhood and high school years there. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Kentucky, and he is a member of the Affrilachian Poets collective. His work has been published in Appalachian Heritage, The Limestone Review, Blackbone: 25 Years of the Affrilachian Poets, and various other journals and anthologies. His book English Lit was published by Old Cove/Swallow Press in 2021. He lives on a farm in eastern Kentucky with his wife Lauren Kallmeyer, an herbalist who serves as the director of Kentucky Heartwood's Forest Council.

Joseph Seamon Cotter Sr. was born on February 2, 1861, in Bardstown, Kentucky, and he died in Lousiville, Kentucky in 1949. When he was just eight years old, he had to leave school to help support his family. At the age of 22, Cotter returned to his formal education and eventually served for more than fifty years as a teacher and administrator in several Louisville schools. In 1891, he married Maria F. Cox; they had three children, including his eldest son, Joseph Seamon Cotter Jr., who was also a talented poet and playwright. According to Oxford Reference, Joseph Cotter Sr. provided an important “voice during one of the most difficult eras of African American history, and he was a man who backed his words with action in building the African American community.”


Read "Mr. Nap's Fight" and "Appalachian Smitten"

Read "Dr. Booker T. Washington to the National Negro Business League"

Bernard Clay

Bernard Clay's website

English Lit reviewed in Southern Review of Books

Bernard Clay reading at the historic Western Library of the Louisville Free Public Library

Joseph Seamon Cotter Sr.

Bio and poems at

Bio and Bibliography at the Carnegie Center--Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame

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