Al Young

Poet Laureate of California
2015 – 2019

Poet, novelist, and professor Al Young served as California Poet Laureate from 2005-2008. Young often read to musical accompaniment, and his poetry reflected his interest in music, specifically jazz and blues, as well as his life in California. His collections of poetry include Dancing: Poems (1969), The Blues Don’t Change: New and Selected Poems (1982), Heaven: Collected Poems 1956–1990 (1992), The Sound of Dreams Remembered: Poems 1990–2000 (2001), and Something About the Blues: An Unlikely Collection of Poetry (2008). Young was a Jones lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford University from 1969 to 1979. He taught at a number of universities, and was appointed the 2002 Lurie Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at San José State University and McGee Professor of Writing at Davidson College in 2003. Young received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Al Young died in 2021, and due to illness was not able to attend the 2019 Gathering of Poets Laureate. We dedicate this site to his memory.