RELATED: Atlanta poet Kevin Young pens a poem to Prince in New Yorker magazine
Young taught poetry at the University of Georgia and Indiana University before moving to Emory. His collection of essays, “The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness,” won the PEN Open Book Award. And his poetry collection “Jelly Roll: A Blues” was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Music, and blues in particular is an inspiration for Young. He connects it to the tragicomic writing of Langston Hughes, the author of the short story collection, “Laughing to Keep from Crying.”
A more serious poem about the death of his father, “Bereavement.” tells the story through a pair of beloved dogs that were left behind after his father was killed in a hunting accident. Young’s pain is palpable in the piece.
They do not bark.
Do they know he is dead?
They wag their tails
& head. They beg
& are fed.
Their grief is colossal
Each day they wake
seeking his voice,
Jeremy Redmon contributed to this article.