Crystal Wilkinson, Kentucky’s Poet Laureate, is the award-winning author of Perfect Black, The Birds of Opulence, Water Street, and Blackberries, Blackberries. She is the recipient of a 2021 O. Henry Prize, a 2020 USA Artists Fellowship, and a 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including most recently in The Kenyon Review, STORY, Agni Literary Journal, Emergence, Oxford American, and Southern Cultures. Her fourth book, Perfect Black, a collection of poetry, was published by University Press of Kentucky in August 2021.

She currently teaches at the University of Kentucky where she is Associate Professor of English in the MFA in Creative Writing program.