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Poet Kevin Young selected as 2014 commencement speaker

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: Hilary Dickinson at or 608-363-2849

Award-winning poet Kevin Young has been selected to address graduates at Beloit College’s 164th commencement ceremony. Approximately 300 graduates will receive their diplomas in the ceremony taking place Sunday, May 18 at 11 a.m. on the lawn in front of the college’s main administration building, Middle College.

Young most recently visited Beloit College in the spring of 2013 when he served as the Lois and Willard Mackey Chair in Creative Writing. He spent nearly a month on campus, teaching and leading a creative writing workshop, in addition to giving a public reading of his work (which is available on the college’s YouTube site).

In a message to campus, the senior class officers said, “His contemporary style of poetry, depth of thought, manner of speaking and mastery of language are sure to provide a memorable and thoughtful commencement ceremony for us all."

The Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English at Emory University in Atlanta, Young is the author of eight books of poetry, including the forthcoming Book of Hours (Knopf, 2014). In addition, he wrote Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (Knopf, 2011), the winner of an American Book Award, and Jelly Roll: A Blues (Knopf, 2003), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize.

Young is the editor of eight other collections, most recently The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing (Bloomsbury, 2010) and Best American Poetry 2011 (Scribner, 2011). He is also the curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library and Literary Collections at Emory University.

Recently, Young was featured on The New York Times website in a video interview. Click here to see “The Read Around: Kevin Young,” in which he reads from his new book of poems, Book of Hours

For more information on the 2014 commencement ceremony, visit