Kevin Young


Kevin Young is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, recently named a National Historic Landmark, and poetry editor of the New Yorker, where he also hosts the poetry podcast. He is the author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, most recently Brown (Knopf, 2018), as featured on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah; Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (Knopf, 2016), longlisted for the National Book Award; and Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014), a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize for Poetry from the Academy of American Poets. His collection Jelly Roll: a blues (Knopf, 2003) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020. He will be the director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture starting in January 2021. Source

Ode to the Midwest

The country I come from is called the Midwest —Bob Dylan


I want to be doused

in cheese


& fried. I want

to wander


the aisles, my heart’s

supermarket stocked high


as cholesterol. I want to die

wearing a sweatsuit—


I want to live

forever in a Christmas sweater,


a teddy bear nursing

off the front. I want to write


a check in the express lane.

I want to scrape


my driveway clean


myself, early, before

anyone’s awake


that’ll put em to shame—

I want to see what the sun


sees before it tells

the snow to go. I want to be


the only black person I know.


I want to throw

out my back & not


complain about it.

I wanta drive


two blocks. Why walk—


I want love, n stuff—

I want to cut

my sutures myself.


I want to jog

down to the river


& make it my bed—


I want to walk

its muddy banks


& make me a withdrawal.


I tried jumping in,

found it frozen—


I’ll go home, I guess,

to my rooms where the moon


changes & shines

like television.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Humor & Satire

Poems of Place

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses


a lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner and written in varied or irregular meter

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)