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Kevin Young

Kevin Young is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and poetry editor of the New Yorker, where he also hosts the poetry podcast. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, most recently Brown (Knopf, 2018) and Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News (Graywolf, 2017), which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Nonfiction. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020. He is a contributing editor to VQR.

Author

Tonsure [private]

Spring 2020 | Poetry

Forever you find

              your father
in other faces—

a balding head
              or beard enough
to send you following

Dog Star [private]

Spring 2020 | Poetry

 Take today. I want there

            to be less
of everything—wind

& worry, of leaves
            littering the ground
& love letters, addressee

Boneyard [private]

Spring 2020 | Poetry

Like heat he seeks them,
            my son, thirsting 
to learn those

he don’t know
            are his dead—
some with his name

Larry Griggs at Booker’s Place. Greenwood, MS.

Repast

Spring 2015 | Essays

In Jim Crow Mississippi, speaking out cost a black waiter his job. Now he is immortalized in poetry and song.

First Loves Playlist

February 16, 2014 | Multimedia

When anyone mentions the 1980s, it depends on what ’80s they are talking about. It wasn’t all Day-Glo colors and jean miniskirts (sadly); nor was it hair metal, parachute pants, and white-collared dress shirts. Do you mean the ’80s when rap was growing up and we used mixtapes like currency? Or when I would wear Chuck Taylors and rolled-up Levis and get yelled at for dressing differently?

Illustration by John Ritter

Blood Nation

Spring 2013 | Essays

Truth is the goal of the memoir—or at least of its preface. Such authenticating devices are ways of gaining trust in a distrustful world. And yet such a disclaimer comes up against the problem encountered by a fabricator coming clean: “To tell you the truth, I am a liar.”

Quartet

Winter 2004 | Poetry

I am tired of this place & want to take
a slow train to the moon—

Just jump the rails out past the pale
peeling walls of this here room.