KC (Kenneth) Clarke is in his fifth year as Executive Director of The Poetry Center of Chicago, an organization established in 1973 that presents Chicago's longest running monthly poetry series and operates Hands on Stanzas, a poets-in-the-schools program that reaches more than 15,000 inner-city students. In 2003, Clarke was awarded Columbia College Chicago's Paul Berger Arts Entrepreneurship Award for outstanding not-for-profit management. In 2004 he was appointed by Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley to the Advisory Board of the Department of Cultural Affairs. New City Chicago recently placed Clarke at #13 in their annual Lit50 list, which names the 50 most influential people in literature in Chicago.
Clarke has worked for a range of cultural institutions and brings with him a wide array of arts management, board relations, and community building experience. Before moving to Illinois, he was a Development Officer at the Ohio Historical Society, which operates the nation's largest historic site system and Coordinator for the Greater Columbus Arts Council's Columbus Arts Festival, which features 300 artists and more than 700,000 patrons. Clarke also worked for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Ohio's Kennedy Center for the Arts affiliate, and for the Ohio Arts Council. Clarke has an MA in Literature from Miami University, Oxford, OH and has published poetry in periodicals such as Indiana Review and Poet Lore.