A winner of the Quill Award and the Patterson Poetry Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award, he penned several acclaimed poetry collections, including Most Way Home; Jelly Roll; and To Repel Ghosts.
He began writing in his early teens and went on to earn a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Brown University. In addition, he was a Stanford University Stegner literary fellow.
He held creative writing professorships at Indiana University, the University of Georgia, and Emory University.
The son of a scientist mother and a physician father, he spent his early years in several states, including Nebraska and Kansas.
Many of his poems, including the 2005 Best American Poetry selection "Black Cat Blues," were influenced by the work of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Young's other major literary influences include confessional poet John Berryman and primitivist and neo-expressionist visual artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.