Episode 306. Lee Pennington – Poet and Documentarian
Lee Pennington is a graduate of Berea College and the University of Iowa. He holds two Honorary Doctor degrees – A Doctor of Literature from World University & Doctor of Philosophy in Arts from The Academy of Southern Arts & Letters. He taught for nearly 40 years, the last 32 as a Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky’s Jefferson Community College until he retired in 1999. Lee is the author of 22 books, including I Knew a Woman (1977), Thigmotropism (1993) & Appalachian Newground (2016)–each nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His latest book is Daughters of Leda (2017)—selected as a finalist for “Best Book of Poetry published in 2017” by the American Book Fest. His Songs of Bloody Harlan was reprinted and re-released in 2019. He has had over 1300 poems published in more than 300 magazines in America & abroad. He has had 9 plays produced, wrote the script for The Moonshine War (MGM, 1970, starring Alan Alda, Richard Widmark, etc.), & has published thousands of articles & short stories in everything from Playgirl to Mountain Life & Work. Since 1990, through his video production company, JoLe Productions (joleproductions.com), Lee, along with his late wife, Joy, have produced 21 documentaries, including In Search of the Mudmen (1990), Wales: History in Bondage (1995), & Secret of the Stones (1998), Eyes that Look at the Sky: The Mystery of Easter Island (2001), The Mound Builders (2001), The Serpent Fort: Solving the Mystery of FT. Mountain, Georgia (2005), Let Me Not Drown on the Waters: Fred Rydholm, Michigan’s “Mr. Copper.” Since 2011, Lee has produced 5 more documentaries: Some Days You Clean, Some Days You Litter: The Amazing Warner Sizemore, 2012; Room To Fly: Anne Caudill’s Album, 2013; Bosnian Pyramids Hidden History, 2015; Seafaring Strangers: Vikings in America, Part I, 2016; & Gunung Padang: Monument to Atlantis, 2017.
Lee has traveled extensively (in all the USA, in all the Canadian Provinces except 2, & 90 foreign countries). For the past dozen years, he has served as president of the Ancient Kentucke Historical Association, a group dedicated to studying and researching pre-Columbian contact in the Americas. In 2013 the University of Louisville opened the Lee & Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery, named after Lee & his late wife. The gallery contains UofL’s most valuable works, including the likes of the first editions of Galileo, Copernicus, & Sir Isaac Newton. In addition, it will house all of Lee’s writings, films, & many artifacts he’s collected traveling around the world. He presently lives in Kratz House, a designated historic home, in Middletown, KY, with his lady, Jill Baker, an artist who has illustrated several of his books.
an accomplished sports journalist, TV host, & media personality-recognized for her expertise in sports broadcasting. With her skills she developed a passion for sports early on & cultivated her love for football=mainly NFL!