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Kevin Young Map of Kansas
Kevin Young, Kansas Author

Kevin Young

Poetry Collections:

Most Way Home, Book Cover, Kevin Young

To Repel Ghosts, Book Cover, Kevin Young

To Repel Ghosts remix, Book Cover, Kevin Young

Jelly Roll, Book Cover, Kevin Young

Black Maria, Book Cover, Kevin Young

Black Maria art

Confederate Dead, Book Cover, Kevin Young

Cover of The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing

Dear Darkness, Book Cover, Kevin Young

Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels

Edited by Young:

Blues Anthology


The Almond Tree

Book of Hours, Book Cover

Cover of Blue Laws, by Kevin Young

The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink



Kevin Young was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1970. He moved several times as a kid, then lived in Topeka, Kansas, until he went to college. He has an B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University. He began writing poetry in his teens, when he took a creative writing class. 

Young's first collection, Most Way Home, was selected by Lucille Clifton for the National Poetry Series, and later won Ploughshares’s John C. Zacharis First Book Award. He is a former Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, a recent Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, and NEA Literature Fellow in Poetry.

Young has taught at the University of Georgia and Indiana University, where he was the Ruth Lilly Professor of Poetry. Currently he is Atticus Haygood Professor of Poetry and Creative Writing at Emory University, and Curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library.

In the spring of 2017 Kevin was announced as the new poetry editor for The New Yorker.

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Bibliography ( - housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)  

Poetry Collections:



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Writing Samples  


You, rare as Georgia
snow. Falling

hard. quick.
Candle shadow.

The cold
spell that catches

us by surprise.
The too-early blooms,

tricked, gardenias blown about,
circling wind. Green figs.

Nothing stays. I want
to watch you walk

the hall to the cold tile

night, a lifetime.

---From For the Confederate Dead

for Thomas Fox Averill

Pull over. Your car with its slow
breathing. Somewhere outside Topeka

it suddenly all matters again,
those tractors blooming rust

in the fields only need a good coat
of paint. Red. You had to see

for yourself, didn't you; see that the world
never turned small, transportation

just got better; to learn
we can't say a town or a baseball

team without breathing in a
dead Indian. To discover why Coronado

pushed up here, following the guide
who said he knew fields of gold,

north, who led them past these plains,
past buffaloes dark as he was. Look.

Nothing but the wheat, waving them
sick, a sea. While they strangle

him blue as the sky above you
The Moor must also wonder

when will all this ever be enough?
this wide open they call discovery,

disappointment, this place my
thousand bones carry, now call home.

---From Most Way Home

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Primary Documents  

Article from the Harvard Gazette

Poem - "Woken" - in Fifth Floor Journal

Most Way Home advertisement

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Interview on WGBH, Boston Public Radio, about new book of poems, Brown. Kevin is interviewed at around the 30-minute mark, mentions writing first poems for Thomas Fox Averill at Washburn Summer Gifted Writing Workshop at around 42 minutes. Interview goes to around 51:30.

Interview, the Brian Lehrer Show--"Poetry on the Many Shades of Brown"--May 1, 2018.

Biography, published works, and contact info for Kevin Young on the Emory University website

Listen to Kevin Young read from his collection Black Maria and talk about his work through the NPR site

Kevin Young has been featured on the News Hour, from PBS

Hear Young read five poems from his collection Jelly Roll at a site hosted by publisher Alfred A. Knopf

Read an article, Poet Kevin Young teaches 'to liberate all the voices, about Kevin Young and his work on The Christian Science Monitor website

Blue Flower Arts features a bio, information about his newest collection, From the Confederate Dead, and two poems

A review of the collection Black Maria on

A review of To Repel Ghosts: The Remix on

Kevin Young on Wikipedia

Kevin Young interviewed by Powell's books

Kevin Young's website

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