In the past year, 1988 Topeka West High School graduate Kevin Young celebrated his one-year anniversary as director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, became poetry editor at The New Yorker, and published a book named “Best Book of 2017” by National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, Smithsonian and Nylon.
“I don’t think I knew if I wanted to write (as a career), but I was writing,” Young said. “I didn’t know many writers, so I didn’t know what one’s life could be like, but I thought maybe if there was a life to be found there that I could do that.”
In his youth, Young didn’t set out with aspirations of being poetry editor of The New Yorker. He aimed to write as well and as intensely as he could, which Young said he feels fortunate enough to have been able to do.
His latest book, “Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts and Fake News,” is one of 12 works by Young in the genres of poetry and prose.
When discussing accomplishments, Young doesn’t list physical milestones, but instead the poems and pages he’s written.
“I really am proud of this new book, ‘Bunk,’ I worked six long years on it,” he said. “I’m proud that I was able to finish it and pleased that people have been drawn to it, and that it’s relevant and has a forward-looking quality but it also looks back and takes on history in a new way.”