Kevin Young (poet)
|Occupation||Poet, professor, editor, literary critic|
|Alma mater||Harvard College (AB);
Brown University (MFA)
|Genre||Poetry, literary criticism|
|Notable awards||Guggenheim Fellowship; finalist, National Book Award|
Kevin Young is an American poet and teacher of poetry. Author of 11 books and editor of eight others, Young has been a winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a finalist for the National Book Award for his collection Jelly Roll: A Blues. Young has served as Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University and curator of Emory's Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, as well as Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. In March 2017, Young became poetry editor of The New Yorker.
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Young was the only child of two working parents, his father, Dr. Paul E. Young, an ophthalmologist and his mother, Dr. Azzie Young, a chemist. Due to the careers of both of his parents, his family moved frequently throughout his youth. Young lived in six different places before he reached the age of ten, but his family ultimately 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.
Young attended Harvard College, where he studied with Seamus Heaney and Lucie Brock-Broido and became friends with writer Colson Whitehead. He graduated in 1992, then held a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University (1992–94), where he worked with Denise Levertov, and received his Master of Fine Arts from Brown University, where Michael S. Harper served as a significant influence.
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.
Young wrote much of his debut collection, Most Way Home, while still an undergraduate. Published by William Morrow in 1995, Most Way Home was selected Lucille Clifton for the National Poetry Series and won Ploughshares's John C. Zacharis First Book Award. Writing in Ploughshares, Rob Arnold described the "explor[ing Young's] own family's narratives, showing an uncanny awareness of voice and persona."
Young has described his next three books To Repel Ghosts (named for a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting), Jelly Roll (a collection of love poems named for Jelly Roll Morton), and Black Maria as an "American trilogy", calling the series Devil's Music.
Young is also the author of For The Confederate Dead, Dear Darkness, Blues Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems 1995–2015 (2016) and editor of Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers (2000), Blues Poems (2003), Jazz Poems (2006), and John Berryman's Selected Poems (2004).
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.
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.
Young is working on two books, a non-fiction book called Bunk on the U.S. history of lies and hoaxes and a poetry collection he's described as being "about African American history and also personal history, growing up in Kansas, which has a long black history including Langston Hughes and others."
- 2015 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for The Book of Hours
- 2013 PEN/Open Book for The Grey Album
- 2013 Final, National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism for The Grey Album
- 2009 Fellow Award from United States Artists.
- 2007 Quill Award
- 2007 Patterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement.
- 2003 Finalist for National Book Award and Los Angeles Time Book Award, Jelly Roll.
- 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.
- Guggenheim Fellowship
- Most Way Home: Poems. Zoland Books, 1998.
- To Repel Ghosts: Five Sides in B Minor. Zoland Books, 2002; To Repel Ghosts: Remixed from the Original Masters. Knopf. 2005. ISBN 978-0-375-71023-0.
- Jelly Roll. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. 1 February 2005. ISBN 978-0-375-70989-0.
- Black Maria: Poems Produced and Directed by. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 9781400042098
- For the Confederate Dead. ALFRED A KNOPF. September 2008. ISBN 978-0-375-71141-1.
- Dear Darkness: Poems. Knopf, 2008. ISBN 9780307264343
- Ardency. Random House, 2011
- Book of Hours, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2015, ISBN 9780375711886
- Blues Laws: Selected and Uncollected Poems 1995–2015, Knopf 2016
- Blues Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets). Everyman's Library, 2003. (Editor)
- John Berryman: Selected Poems. Library of America, 2004. (Editor)
- Kevin Young, ed. (2006). Jazz Poems. Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-1-4000-4251-7.
- Kevin Young, ed. (16 March 2010). The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 978-1-60819-033-1.
- Kevin Young, ed. (28 October 2014). The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink. Bloomsbury USA. ISBN 978-1-60819-768-2.
- H.L. Hix, ed. (2008). New Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the United States. Irish Pages. ISBN 978-0-9544257-9-1.
- Peet, Lisa (March 21, 2017). "Kevin Young: Director of NYPL’s Schomburg Center, New Yorker Poetry Editor". Library Journal. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
- Oliviero, Helena (March 15, 2017). "Kevin Young is named new poetry editor at The New Yorker". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- "Kate Tuttle and Kevin Young". The New York Times. 2005-05-08. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
- Gioia, Dana (2004). Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Boston: McGraw-Hill. pp. 1041–1042. ISBN 0-07-240019-6.
- Purcell, Andrew (2017-05-20). "Colson Whitehead: 'The truth of things, not the facts'". Western Advocate. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
- Lee, Don (Winter 1996–1997). "Kevin Young, Zacharis Award". Ploughshares (71).
- Arnold, Rob (Spring 2006). "About Kevin Young". Ploughshares (99).
- Matthews, James. "A Q&A with Kevin Young". Arkansas Times. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- "PW’s Top Authors Pick Their Favorite Books of 2016". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
- "University Honors & Awards: Honoree - Kevin Young", Indiana University.
- "Kevin Young On Blues, Poetry And 'Laughing To Keep From Crying'". Fresh Air. NPR. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
- Kelly, William P. (August 1, 2016). "Introducing the New Director of the Schomburg Center, Kevin Young". NYPL blog. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
- Redmon, Jeremy (February 13, 2016). "Broad range of music fuels Decatur poet Kevin Young’s new collection". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
- Carolyn Kellogg (August 14, 2013). "Jacket Copy: PEN announces winners of its 2013 awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Tobar, Hector (2013-01-14). "National Book Critics Circle announces finalists for awards". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-06-08.
- United States Artists Official Website Archived 2010-11-10 at the Wayback Machine.
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