As a member of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, KSPS is committed to the support of many programs, including the acknowledgement of the accomplishments of various state members and opportunities for recognition in poetry–most importantly, perhaps, to student writers. KSPS is committed to supporting the writers of America’s future and joins NFSPS in that goal.  For more information about NFSPS, click here for the current issue of Strophes, the national society’s official newsletter.

KSPS supports poetry locally and regionally through its adult and student poetry contests, the publication of its poetry journal Pegasus, and through activities which promote poetry throughout the Commonwealth, including our annual poetry conference.

KSPS Leadership

KSPS is made up of individuals who volunteer their time and efforts for the furtherance of poetry.

Danni Quintos


Danni Quintos is the author of the poetry collection, Two Brown Dots (BOA Editions, 2022), chosen by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as winner of the Poulin Prize. A Kentuckian, a knitter, and an Affrilachian Poet, her work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, Cincinnati Review, Cream City Review, The Margins, Salon, and elsewhere. 


NitaJade Jackson

Vice President

NitaJade (they/she) earned their MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of Kentucky, and their BA in African and African American Studies from Berea College. Currently, they are a Visiting Professor of English at Centre College. NitaJade is an Affrilachian Poet and a self-proclaimed weirdo hailing from Asheville, NC. They aspire to embody the combined aesthetics of sloths and narwhals (slarwhals, if you please.) They laugh loudly and stubbornly.

Jennifer Barricklow


Jennifer Barricklow is a writer and freelance editor in Lexington KY. In addition to writing poetry, she studies tarot, putters in the garden, and makes stuff out of yarn. She participates in the literary ecosystem, locally and globally, as much as possible.


Bill Verble


Bill Verble began writing poetry about five years ago as a remedy for a persistent creative itch and a desire to package as much meaning into as few words as possible. He’s inspired by his father, who was a poet-in-residence for a school system in the Seventies. His work has appeared in the The Poeming Pigeon and Okay Donkey. Bill works as a human resource director and lives in Lexington with his family. You can find him online on Twitter at @BillVerble.

Matt Birkenhauer

Member at Large

Matt Birkenhauer teaches at NKU, mostly composition and rhetoric as well as developmental education.  His love of poetry goes way back—to at least high school when, ragged and a little hungover, he sat down and read Allen Ginsburg’s “Howl” in his brother’s college lit. text.  He’s never looked back.

Debbie Adams Cooper

Member at Large + Historian

Debbie Adams Cooper is a native of Letcher County who now lives in central Kentucky. She is the author of Images of America: Letcher County.  She began writing poetry in high school and has written, in earnest, since.  Debbie is a big fan of Lexington Poetry Month and has participated in it every year since its inception. 

Debbie Adams Cooper

Trish Lindsey Jaggers

Member at Large

Trish Lindsey Jaggers, author of Holonym: poems and De-Composition: Rigor Mortis, is a Kentucky-born feminist poet and educator. She teaches creative writing (sp. poetry), literature, and composition at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. She lives in Chalybeate (Edmonson County), KY.

Her poetry has appeared in Kentucky Monthly Magazine, Pirene’s Fountain; New Millennium Writings; The Briar Cliff Review; The Louisville Review; The New Southerner; The Red Rock Review; Clackamas Literary Review, and other journals and anthologies.

Jon Thrower

Pegasus Editor

Jon Thrower has a long history in small press DIY publishing, and has worked as an editor for The LegendaryGirls with InsuranceBig Muddy and Univocal Publishing. He has published writing (mostly poetry) in Story SouthBlazeVoxThe Fiddleback, Country Music, Knock, Poetry Midwest, and Atropos Press among others. In whatever might be called spare time, he makes music, cooks, gardens, and reads heavily. He lives and works in Lexington, KY. 

Mary Allen

Membership Chair

Mary Allen comes to poetry after a career in teaching and university administration. Her poetry has been published in Pegasus and all the anthologies associated with Lexington Poetry Month. She lives in Lexington, and in addition to poetry, she studies and writes about crime fiction.

Kelly Vance

Student Contest Chair

Kelly Vance
is currently enrolled in Eastern Kentucky University’s MFA in creative writing program, the Bluegrass Writers Studio. She is a reader for EKU’s publication, Jelly Bucket, was the 2018 Jelly Bucket Poetry Section editor, and is a 2019 graduate of the Women Writing for (a) Change Conscious Feminine Leadership Academy.

Jeremy Paden

Adult Contest Chair

Jeremy Paden is a Professor of Spanish and Latin American literature at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY. He is the author of several chapbooks of poems: Broken Tulips (Accents Press, 2013), ruina montium  (Broadstone Books, 2016), and prison recipes (Broadstone Books, 2018). His poems, translations, and critical essays have appeared in such places as: Atlanta Review, Beloit Poetry JournalCalifornia QuarterlyCincinnati ReviewHampden-Sydney ReviewRomance QuarterlyColonial Latin American Review and other places. He is a recipient of a 2019 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.

Amelia Martens

Immediate Past President

Amelia Martens is the author of The Spoons in the Grass are There To Dig a Moat (Sarabande Books, 2016), and four chapbooks. In 2019, she received an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council. She co-curates the Rivertown Reading Series, Exit 7, and two awesome daughters.


Leadership positions available!

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