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,
Young was 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.
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.
Young wrote much of his debut collection, Most Way Home, while still an undergraduate. Published by William Morrow in 1995. Young’s collection The Book of Hours (Knopf 2014) won the 2015 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.