Al Youngb. 1939
The writer Al Young shares a birthday with Walt Whitman, and like his great predecessor in the American grain is a poet of celebratory exuberance. Born on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and raised in both the South and North, Young studied at the University of Michigan before settling in California; he has also traveled extensively. His work, which shows the deep influence of blues and jazz music, is written in an engaging, freewheeling idiom and conveys the humor and beauty to be found in even the most dire of situations.