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Local News Reviews - Jasper (DN-R)

For Young, Food Joins Poetry
As One Of Life's Finer Things

Daily News-Record Correspondent

It's the little things that are important to poet Kevin Young.

Pork, a fine cigar or sheet music each offers inspiration to the 33-year-old, an up-and-coming artist who appeared at last week's Furious Flower poetry conference.

A poem in Young's newest book, "Jelly Roll: A Blues," pays tribute to the comfort the 33-year-old found in food following his father's death this spring.

"I know you're the blues because loving you may kill me," Young writes in "Ode to Pork."

Poet and critic Kalamu ya Salaam introduced the artist at a poetry reading during the conference.

"Kevin Young he says he's young," Salaam said with a laugh. "I read some of his stuff, and if he's young, he's been stealing."

Young has published in five books and appeared at both Furious Flower conferences. Though well accomplished in his more than 10 years as a poet, fellow artist Major Jackson said Young's reputation as a young poet persists because he is still writing himself into a voice.

"In the journey of an artist, 10 years is nothing a blink of an eye," Jackson said. "He's established as an American poet but is growing into his subject, his voice."

That voice is developing though the influence of life's overlooked and underappreciated objects, Young said.

"In my poems, I want to make the little things as important as they are," said Young, a professor at Indiana University.

Jackson said Young does exactly that, especially with "Jelly Roll."

"He's capable about discerning what is humorous about our ordinary lives," he said. "He enters into something bland and ordinary and makes it sacred. He has that vision to turn ordinary into art."

Contact Kelly Jasper at skyline@dnronline.com

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