Kevin Young 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.
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.
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.