Category Archives: Kevin Young

Kevin Young — a living poet (born 1970)


Rounding up April and National Poetry Month, I wanted to feature a living breathing poet.  A person I thought of is Kevin Young.  He was initially formally acknowledged in 1993 when he won awards for his first books of poems Most Way Home.  Since then, Young’s published a number of books of poetry including To Repel Ghosts: Five Sides in B Minor (2001), a poetic tribute to painter and graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat; Jelly Roll: A Blues (2003); For the Confederate Dead (2007); Dear Darkness (2008); and Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (2011).

Kevin Young is regarded as a poet and a writer “who finds meaning and inspiration in African American music, particularly the blues, and in the bittersweet history of Black America.”  I believe it was his collection of poems Jelly Roll: A Blues where I first heard of him.  I had hoped to find a copy of this collection at a local library and wasn’t able to.  Instead I found Mr. Young’s 2008 book of poems Dear Darkness.  Here are three poems from this collection:


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.

I feel like a dog that done lost his tail,

& keeps barking: soon? so soon?

Lay down outstretched among hail

& fallen stars, the rain’s raggy tune.

On Being Blind

Hard to compare pain—

So when the shortsighted

Pale girl lost her glasses

Whirling her hair

And arms on the dance floor

We all quit dancing.

To look.  From the stand the blind

Blues singer stopped to announce

Someone has lost their specs

But she shouted back, No, eyes!

I’ve lost my eyes! Beneath his shades

The black and bluesman just smiled

And reached further

Into his monogrammed

Holster of harmonicas.


Sleep, shelter me.


me back into the deck

where I belong—

Sing no shout

your favorite song

until I fall

into your empty arms.

Let me be what

dust has to be, settling

over everything

& I promise to dream

of new houses & old

loves not longer, I swear,

sweet sleep,

I will summon no one

if you make me

again mine.

**A review of Dear Darkness: Poems by Kevin Young can be found at this web page: