Blanche Taylor Dickinson

1896 –

Blanche Taylor Dickinson was a poet, short story writer, and journalist associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Dickinson was born to Laura and Thomas Taylor on a farm near Franklin, Kentucky, on April 15, 1896. She received her education in various public schools before enrolling at Bowling Green Academy. She then attended Simmons College of Kentucky (then Simmons University) in Louisville, a private, historically-Black college, but earned no degree. 

While working as a teacher in segregated schools, Dickinson published work in numerous journals and newspapers during her lifetime, including the Crisis, Opportunity magazine, the Chicago Defender, the Louisville Leader, and the Pittsburgh Courier. Her poems were anthologized in Caroling Dusk (Harper & Brothers, 1927), edited by Countee Cullen, and Ebony and Topaz (National Urban League, 1927), edited by Charles S. Johnson. In 1927, she won the Buckner Prize “for conspicuous promise,” awarded by Opportunity for her poem “A Sonnet and a Rondeau.” According to scholar Maureen Honey, much of Dickinson’s published literary work only spanned two years, from 1927 to 1929. However, Dickinson’s first poem was published in a local Kentucky newspaper, the Franklin Favorite, in July 1925.

Blanche Taylor Dickinson died in January 1972 and is buried at Pleasant View Cemetery in Simpson County, Kentucky. In later years, she went by Patty Blanche Taylor, which is the name on her tombstone. In 2023, Dickinson was elected into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame alongside fellow poets Madison Julius Cawein and former Kentucky poet laureate Richard Taylor.