News Release: Arts and Humanities, People, University News

Dec. 18,  2008

Kevin Young Named Curator of Literary Collections at Emory

For Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library

News Article ImageKevin Young

Award-winning poet, editor and Emory University professor Kevin Young has been named curator of literary collections for the university's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL).

Young brings to the job the perspectives of a scholar, a writer and a teacher of writing, says vice provost and director of Emory Libraries Rick Luce.

"As a result of his experiences, Kevin understands the context in which manuscripts, archives and rare books are used," Luce says. "On the scholarly side, he has deep knowledge of literary collections, both prose and poetry."

Continued Focus on Modern Literature

Young's plans as literary collections curator include "focusing further on Emory's diverse strengths in modern literature, particularly Irish, African-American and British literature." He also is interested in building an archive of poetry audio recordings to complement Emory's already strong holdings in the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library and throughout MARBL.

"I'm delighted to expand my role further in MARBL and at Emory," says Young. "The collections are so international and inclusive already, with archives from Salman Rushdie to Lucille Clifton, that I am quite excited to continue that trajectory. Plus, it's a real treat to be the curator working with the papers of Seamus Heaney, whom I studied with years ago."

Awards, Features in Prominent Publications

Young's international reputation stems from the six poetry collections he's authored and four he's edited.

  • His fifth collection, "For the Confederate Dead," won the 2007 Quill Award in Poetry and has been featured in the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly, as well as on National Public Radio.
  • Young's first book, "Most Way Home," was selected for the National Poetry Series by Lucille Clifton, and later won the Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares.
  • Young's second book, "To Repel Ghosts," a "double album" based on the work of the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, was a finalist for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets and was reissued in a "remix" version in 2005.
  • Young's third poetry collection, "Jelly Roll," won the Paterson Poetry Prize and was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His previous collection, "Black Maria," a film noir in verse, has been staged recently by the Providence Black Repertory Company.
  • Young's most recent volume, "Dear Darkness," published by Knopf, debuted in September.
  • Young's poetry and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, the Kenyon Review, Callaloo and many other journals.
  • He is editor of the anthology "Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers, " the Library of America's "John Berryman: Selected Poems, "the Everyman's Library Pocket Poet anthology "Blues Poems" and most recently, a companion "Jazz Poems."

In addition to his work as literary collections curator, Young will continue his teaching as Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing. He'll also remain curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library.

The literary collections curator position was previously held by Steve Enniss, who also worked as director of MARBL, and who recently was named the Eric Weinmann Librarian of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. An international search has begun for someone to take on directorial duties at MARBL.

Young has an A.B. in English and American Literature from Harvard University and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Brown University. A former Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, he is a recent Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow in Poetry. He also has taught at the University of Georgia and Indiana University, where he was the Ruth Lilly Professor of Poetry.

About Emory University Libraries

The Emory University Libraries in Atlanta and Oxford, Ga., are an intellectual commons for Emory University, Atlanta and the world. The nine libraries' holdings include more than 3.1 million print and electronic volumes, 40,000-plus electronic journals, and internationally renowned special collections.

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