Kevin Young (poet)

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Kevin Young
Kevin Young - 2015 National Book Festival (4).jpg
Born (1970-11-08) November 8, 1970 (age 45)
Lincoln, Nebraska
Alma mater Harvard College;
Stanford University;
Brown University
Genre Poetry

Kevin Young (born November 8, 1970) is an American poet and teacher of poetry. Young graduated from Harvard College in 1992, held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University (1992–94), and received his Master of Fine Arts from Brown University. While in Boston and Providence, he was part of the African-American poetry group the Dark Room Collective. He is heavily influenced by the poets Langston Hughes, John Berryman, and Emily Dickinson and by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Early life[edit]

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Young was the only child of two working parents, his father an ophthalmologist and his mother a chemist. Due to the careers of both of his parents, his family moved frequently throughout his youth. Kevin Young lived in six different places before he reached the age of ten, but his family finally settled in Topeka, Kansas. He first began to pursue writing when he was thirteen years old, after he attended a summer writing class at Washburn University.[1]


Young is the author of Most Way Home, To Repel Ghosts, Jelly Roll, Black Maria, For The Confederate Dead, Dear Darkness, and editor of Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers, Blues Poems, Jazz Poems, and John Berryman's Selected Poems.

His poem "Black Cat Blues," originally published in The Virginia Quarterly Review, was included in The Best American Poetry 2005. Young's poetry has also appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and other literary magazines. In 2007, he served as guest editor for an issue of Ploughshares. He has written on art and artists for museums in Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

His 2003 book of poems Jelly Roll was a finalist for the National Book Award. Young was named a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in 2003, as well as an NEA Literature Fellow in Poetry.[2]

After stints at the University of Georgia and Indiana University, Young now teaches writing at Emory University, where he is the Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing, as well as the curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, a large collection of first and rare editions of poetry in English.[3][4]


  • 2013 PEN/Open Book, The Grey Album [5]
  • 2009 Fellow Award from United States Artists.[6]
  • 2007 Quill Award
  • 2007 Patterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement.
  • 2003 Finalist for National Book Award and Los Angeles Time Book Award.
  • 2003 Winner Patterson Poetry Prize.
  • 1993 Most Way Home selected for National Poetry Series by Lucille Clifton; awarded John C. Zacharis First Book Prize from Ploughshares Magazine.





  1. ^ Gioia, Dana (2004). Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Boston: McGraw-Hill. pp. 1041–1042. ISBN 0-07-240019-6. 
  2. ^ "University Honors & Awards: Honoree - Kevin Young", Indiana University.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (August 14, 2013). "Jacket Copy: PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  6. ^ United States Artists Official Website

External links[edit]