Although Young was born and raised in the Midwest, his parents were from Louisiana, and ties to the family's Cajun heritage have remained strong throughout his life. Completed in 2008, following the sudden death of Young's father, the book Dear Darkness is at once infused with the sadness of his loss, and enlivened by the poet's wry but enthusiastic celebration of his southern roots.
In addition to Dear Darkness, Young has written five other books of poetry, including For the Confederate Dead (2007), Jelly Roll: A Blues (2003), and Most Way Home (1995), which was selected for the National Poetry Series. Young's other honors include a Stegner Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. He is currently a professor of English and curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.