Kevin Young
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Kevin Young

Past Event: Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kevin Young is a self-avowed packrat. He collects old books, photographs, vinyl records—many of which have made their way into his writing. “I…like the search,” he says, “going into old stores in random towns and being surprised at what’s there. It’s the search, not the owning, that I like—it’s like writing in that way.”

In a little over a decade, Young has searched, and found, his way to writing more than five critically acclaimed, ambitious, and lusciously readable books. His debut, Most Way Home(1995), was chosen by Lucille Clifton for the National Poetry Series. His third volume, Jelly Roll {A Blues} (2003), won the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His most recent book is For the Confederate Dead (2007). “Young turns cliché inside out,” Booklist declared, “in an ingenious celebration of improvisation in art and in life.”

In his spare time, Young collects poems as the editor of Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers (2000), John Berryman: Selected Poems (2003), and the Everyman Pocket series of Blues Poems (2003) and Jazz Poems (forthcoming).