Thursday, November 18, 2010

Robert Penn Warren, Pulitzer winner for fiction and poetry, finally gets an Interstate sign

"It was huge news in the small town of Guthrie, Kentucky, on Thursday when the governors of Tennessee and Kentucky unveiled new highway signs directing motorists to the Robert Penn Warren Birthplace and Museum," Tim Ghianni reports for Reuters, a worldwide wire service. "Many motorists traveling on Interstate Highway 24 passed within a few miles of the hardscrabble town across the state line, which was an old railroad and stagecoach stop, without being aware of its museum." (1986 photo)

Warren, America's first poet laureate and the only person to win Pulitzer prizes for fiction (All the King's Men) and poetry (twice), was born in Guthrie, "but grew up with a foot firmly in each state," going to high school in Clarksville, Tenn., and Vanderbilt University in Nashville. "Warren left a lasting impression on American culture and literature and I certainly hope more people visit the museum to learn about his life and work," said Gerald Nicely, Tennessee's appointed deputy governor and transportation commissioner. (Does any other state besides Illinois have a deputy governor?)
From left in front of one of the exit-ramp signs are Todd County (Ky.) Judge-Executive Arthur Green, Guthrie Mayor Scott Marshall, Nicely, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Kentucky state Rep. Martha Jane King.

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