On March 22, UC Santa Cruz literature and creative writing professor and alumnus Gary Young’s poem, “In the Heat of Late Afternoon,” was featured on the online radio program, the Writer’s Almanac. Hosted by American author and radio personality Garrison Keillor, the Writer’s Almanac features daily online poetry podcasts among other readings of literary works.
Graduating from UCSC with an independent study degree in 1969, Young said his poetry is mainly influenced by one of his first professors, late poet and printmaker William Everson. Hearkening back to his years as an undergraduate, he said the small, intimate size of Everson’s course, “Birth of a Poet,” was essential to fostering what Young called “a sense of vitality.”
Young’s poetry was featured on the online radio program twice before. His poems, “My Brothers in Wyoming” and “The Signature Mark of Autumn,” were read on the show in 2003 and 2010.
Young said he is honored to be featured on the program.
“What Keillor has done is bring poetry to a mainstream audience,” Young said. He called the Writer’s Almanac reading an “enormous service.”
Recently named Santa Cruz County’s first Poet Laureate, Young was acknowledged for his many years of studying, teaching and writing poetry. Young said that he was glad to receive the title, but is more pleased that the community felt it was important to create the title in the first place.
Although his poetry explores spirituality, Young isn’t interested in religion.
“What has been will always have been,” Young said, in reference to the meaning of spirituality. “It can’t be erased from time.”
Another poem from Young’s recently published book, “Even So: New and Selected Poems,” will be featured on the program on Thursday.