Nathasha Trethewey (Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing) and Kevin Young (Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing) have been commissioned by the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to write poems inspired by the centennial of the Great Migration.
These poems will be published online as part of MoMA’s current exhibit “One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North,” which includes materials on loan from Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). Trethewey and Young are among 10 poets selected for this honor.
More information is available here.
Source: Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence
It is with great pleasure that we announce that Kevin Young, Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Curator, Raymond Danowski Poetry Collection, has been awarded the 2013 PEN Open Book Award for The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness (Graywolf Press). His book was also a finalist in criticism for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
The PEN Open Book Award was created by PEN American Center’s Open Book Committee, a group committed to racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities. The award confers a $5,000 prize upon an author of color.
From the Judges’ Citation for The Grey Album
Like Duke Ellington’s fabled, Harlem-bound A Train, Kevin Young’s The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness propels us across a panorama of African American history, creativity and struggle with a lightning-brisk brilliance and purpose. Here’s what happens when an acclaimed poet makes his first foray into nonfiction: madcap manifesto and rhapsodic reportage create a formidable blend of scholarship and memoir that tackles cultural and personal history in one breath. Young goes far beyond just being a documentarian of American Black identity—he shows us how Black identity is indispensable to American culture. The Grey Album is an ambitious, exhilarating, impassioned work of Black literary and cultural criticism, unlike any other—an inspired, sweeping book that deserves to be savored and celebrated.
Read full news release
Young reads from The Grey Album (Emory Report podcast)
Young talks about Aretha Franklin’s Version of Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water
Kevin Young has won the 2012 American Book Award in Poetry from The Before Columbus Foundation for his collection, Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (Knopf).
The Before Columbus Foundation was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit educational and service organization dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary American multicultural literature. The goals of BCF are to provide recognition and a wider audience for the wealth of cultural and ethnic diversity that constitutes American writing. In 1978, the Board of Directors of BCF (authors, editors, and publishers representing the multicultural diversity of American Literature) decided that one of its programs should be a book award that would, for the first time, respect and honor excellence in American literature without restriction or bias with regard to race, sex, creed, cultural origin, size of press or ad budget, or even genre.
See press release
In its annual “Best of Atlanta” issue, Creative Loafing named creative writing professor Kevin Young (Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing) the best in his field.
Poet Kevin Young has drawn on musical traditions from blues to jazz to gospel throughout his career, especially in his 2003 National Book Award-finalist poetry collection Jelly Roll: A Blues. In January 2011, the Emory professor published the epic Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels — a personal project 20 years in the making. The volume is something like a collection of demo tapes, with Young appropriating disparate musical forms — aria, hymn, blues — and translating them into poetic terms. The result is wildly varied, a perfect match for the chorus of different voices he invokes to tell the story of Cinque and the other African rebels that mutinied the slave ship Amistad in 1839. The book reveals not only the story told through the poems, but also the story of a poet exploring his craft.
Kevin Young’s new book Ardency is featured in Creative Loafing’s Books section in advance of Young’s reading at the Jimmy Carter Center on Wed., Feb. 16, at 7pm:
Young has crafted an American epic in Ardency, one that captures the horror of slavery without ignoring the beauty and strength of those who fought and survived it. There is also his own history in this book — a young poet finding his voice through the traditions, stories and songs that came before him.
According to the Random House website of Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels…
Acclaimed poet Kevin Young gathers here a chorus of voices that tells the story of the Africans who mutinied onboard the slave ship Amistad. Written over twenty years, this poetic epic—part libretto, part captivity epistle—makes the past present, and even its sorrows sing.