Young Named CA Poet Laureate

The search is over … California has a new state poet laureate — and it’s not Gary Coleman!

(AP) Screenwriter, poet and novelist Al Young was named Thursday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as California’s second poet laureate.

Young, 65, is a two-time recipient of Pushcart Prize for poetry – a national small press award – and a winner of the PEN/Library of Congress Award for short fiction.

Schwarzenegger lauded Young as someone “with a passion for the arts” who would inspire the residents of California. No word yet on if he plans to do anything about the traffic. Read more on Young and the poet laureate position here.

4 Responses

  1. Pimpin’ the Illinois Poet
    Pimpin’ the Illinois Poet Laureate

    Kevin Stein…
    I have two of his books, “Bruised Paradise” and “Chance Ransom.” I don’t feel like typing up my impressions of his work right now, but in short, I dig him in the same way I dig Ginsberg, Bukowski and O’Hara. I’ve also had the pleasure of chatting with Kevin a couple of times and he has a great mind.

    Here’s some info from his website (
    “Kevin Stein’s poems and essays have appeared widely in journals such as American Poetry Review, Boulevard, The Gettysburg Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Southern Review, and TriQuarterly.

    His fourth full-length collection, American Ghost Roses, is forthcoming in spring 2005 from University of Illinois Press. Other collections include Chance Ransom (University of Illinois Press, 2000), Bruised Paradise (University of Illinois Press, 1996) and A Circus of Want (University of Missouri Press), winner of the 1992 Devins Award for Poetry.

    His prize-winning poetry chapbooks are The Figure Our Bodies Make (St. Louis Poetry Center, 1988) and A Field of Wings (Illinois Writers, Inc., 1986). Stein’s Private Poets, Worldly Acts, essays on the interplay of contemporary poetry and history, was published by Ohio University Press (1989) and is considered the definitive study of Wright’s work. Illinois Voices (University of Illinois Press, 2001), is an anthology of twentieth-century poetry which Stein co-edited with G. E. Murray.

    Stein has received numerous awards, most recently the Vernon Louis Parrington Medal for Distinguished Writing. He has been awarded Poetry’s Frederick Bock Prize, the 1998 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, the Stanley Hanks Chapbook Award, and three Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards for his poetry. In addition, he has been the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship and three such fellowships awarded by the Illinois Arts Council.”

    So get out there and read him!

  2. This guy seems okay, but
    This guy seems okay, but …

    … if California can have Arnold Schwarzenegger for a governor, why can’t they have Ice Cube or Dr. Dre for a Poet Laureate?

    That’s what I want to know.

  3. Very cool, Kevin — I will
    Very cool, Kevin — I will have to give him a try. Thanks for sharing your impressions, an endorsement from kkizer is enough for me to pick up one of these books.

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