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Kevin YoungUniversity Distinguished Professor

Biography

Kevin Young is the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, newly named a National Historic Landmark, and poetry editor of the New Yorker. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, including the forthcoming Library of American African American Poetry anthology featuring 250 years of Black poets in the Americas (out in September 2020). Much of the research for the anthology was conducted at the Schomburg Center.

Young's most recent book of poetry, Brown (Knopf, 2018), and his nonfiction book, Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, HumbugPlagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts & Fake News (Graywolf, 2019), were both named New York Times Notable Books and longlisted for the National Book Award. Bunk was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and named a "Best Book of 2017" by NPR, the Los Angeles TimesDallas Morning NewsAtlanta Journal-ConstitutionVogue, the Atlantic, and others.

Young's previous nonfiction book, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (Graywolf Press, 2012), won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and the PEN Open Book Award; it was also a New York Times Notable Book for 2012 and a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2016 and is University Distinguished Professor at Emory and was the Bain-Swiggett Professor at Princeton for fall 2019.

Young is the editor of eight volumes, including The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (BOA Editions, 2012 and winner of the Hurston-Wright Prize); The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink (Bloomsbury, 2012); The Best American Poetry 2011; and The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing, one hundred and fifty devastatingly beautiful contemporary elegies that embrace the pain, heartbreak, and healing stages of mourning (Bloomsbury, 2010).

Editor, Essayist, and Curator

Also, an editor, essayist, and curator, Young’s eleven books of poetry include: Brown (2018), a New York Times Notable BookBlue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016), longlisted for the National Book Award; Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014); Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels  (Knopf, 2011), winner of an American Book Award; Dear Darkness (Knopf, 2008); For the Confederate Dead (Knopf, 2007); Black Maria (Knopf, 2005); To Repel Ghosts ("Remix," Knopf, 2005); Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003), a finalist for the National Book Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize; and Most Way Home (William Morrow, 1995), winner of the National Poetry Series and the Zacharis First Book Award.

Book of Hours was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and won the 2015 Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets—a prize that recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous year.

Young’s poetry and essays have appeared in The New YorkerNew York Times Book ReviewKenyon ReviewPloughshares, and Callaloo.

From 2005-2016, Young served as Curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library—a 75,000-volume collection of rare and modern poetry housed at Emory University. As curator, Young was responsible for growing the collection, running a reading series, and mounting exhibitions. In 2008, Young was also named Curator of Literary Collections and continued to add to the outstanding growing collections at Emory’s Rose Library, which holds the archives of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney and British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes; National Book Award–winner Lucille Clifton; influential iconoclasts Flannery O’Connor, Jack Kerouac, and Salman Rushdie; Pulitzer Prize–winners Alice Walker, Natasha Trethewey, and Alan Dugan; and current British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy.

Named University Distinguished Professor at Emory University, Young was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. His many other honors include a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and an honorary doctorate from Beloit College.

Books

For the Confederate DeadTo Repel GhostsJelly RollBlack MariaMost Way HomeDear DarknessThe Art of Losing (editor)Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad RebelsThe Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 (editor)The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink (editor)Book of HoursBlue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists,  Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake Newsbrown