Al Young, 1936 - 2021

Al Young, 1939 - 2021 For over 30 years, Al was vital member of the Community of Writers, teaching across the programs and serving on the Board of Directors. Many Friday night Follies found Al onstage, often part of the three-man Granite Chief quartet or as a duo with his friend Jim Houston, serenading the audience with such classics as “Hey Good Lookin’” or “Mr. Bojangles.”

Al, who served as California’s Poet Laureate for three years, wrote over 25 books of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. A graduate of UC Berkeley, he also taught widely, as a Stegner fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford, as well as at universities and conferences across the country and the world. He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them the Guggenheim, the Richard Wright Award for Excellence in Literature, a Fulbright, NEA Fellowships, PEN-USA awards, and Radio Pacifica’s KPFA Peace Prize. R

While Al’s final publication credits include an appearance in The Best American Poetry 2016, edited by Edward Hirsch, as well as our recently published anthology Why to These Rocks: Fifty years of Poems from the Community of Writers, the most impressive credit is certainly the five poems which appear in the Library of America’s African American Poetry: 250 years of Struggle and Song, edited by Kevin Young