A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
February 9, 2006 Volume 36 / Number 5


Poet Al Young Highlights Black History Month

Al Young, poet, screenwriter, performer, and teacher, who was appointed to the position of California Poet Laureate in May 2005, will perform at 7:30 pm, in the BMU on February 5. The following history was taken from the California Poet Laureate Web site.

Born in Mississippi, Al Young has lived most of his life in the San Francisco Bay Area. Now 66, he has been a poet, writer, teacher, and lecturer throughout his literary career. He has taught poetry and fiction writing at a number of universities nationwide including the Universities of California at Berkeley, Santa Cruz, and Davis and at Stanford University. Versatile and prolific, his works have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Review, Seattle Review, Rolling Stone, and the Norton Anthology of African American Literature. As a screenwriter, Young has worked with Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Richard Pryor.

Young often travels internationally—reading, lecturing, and performing with musicians. He has also lectured overseas for the U.S. Department of State. In 2001, he traveled to the Persian Gulf to lecture in Kuwait and Bahrain on African American literature and culture. In March 2005, he completed a three-week lecture tour of India. His poetry and prose have been translated into numerous languages, including Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and German.

Young has received numerous awards including the Wallace Stegner, Guggenheim, Fulbright, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships; the PEN USA Award for Nonfiction; and the Pushcart Prize. He has also received two American Book Awards and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year citation.