I have a special video version of the Sunday Poem for you today by Kevin Young, one of my favorite contemporary poets. In this short clip from the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Young reads his poem “Aunties,” which appears in his collection Dear Darkness: Poems. Young is a talented reader of his own work, and a recitation really makes his poetry shine. Enjoy the poem and your Sunday!
About Kevin Young
Kevin Young was born 1970 in Lincoln, Nebraska. He received his BA from Harvard University in 1992, where he took poetry workshops with Lucie Brock-Broido and Seamus Heaney, and his MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University in 1996.
His books of poetry include Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011); Dear Darkness: Poems (2008); For the Confederate Dead (2007); Black Maria (2005); Jelly Roll: A Blues (2003); To Repel Ghosts (Zoland Books, 2001), which was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award; and Most Way Home (1995), selected for the National Poetry Series and winner of the Zacharis First Books Award from Ploughshares.
Young is also the editor of the anthologies The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing (Bloomsbury, 2010); Blues Poems (Everyman’s Library, 2003) and Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers (2000), as well as a selected volume of poems by John Berryman for the Library of America.
About Young’s work, the poet Lucille Clifton has said, “This poet’s gift of storytelling and understanding of the music inherent in the oral tradition of language re-creates for us an inner history which is compelling and authentic and American.”
Young’s awards and honors include a Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University, a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and an NEA fellowship. He taught at the University of Georgia and at Indiana University. Currently, he is the Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing and curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University and lives in Boston and Atlanta.
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This video is part of the Poetry Everywhere project airing on public television. Produced by David Grubin Productions and WGBH Boston, in association with the Poetry Foundation. Filmed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. “Aunties” © Kevin Young.