Reward

By Kevin Young b. 1970 Kevin Young
RUN AWAY from this sub-
scriber for the second time
are TWO NEGROES, viz. SMART,
an outlandish dark fellow

with his country marks
on his temples and bearing
the remarkable brand of my
name on his left breast, last

seen wearing an old ragged
negro cloth shirt and breeches
made of fearnought; also DIDO,
a likely young wench of a yellow

cast, born in cherrytime in this
parish, wearing a mixed coloured
coat with a bundle of clothes,
mostly blue, under her one good

arm. Both speak tolerable plain
English and may insist on being
called Cuffee and Khasa respect-
ively. Whoever shall deliver

the said goods to the gaoler
in Baton Rouge, or to the Sugar
House in the parish, shall receive
all reasonable charges plus

a genteel reward besides what
the law allows. In the mean
time all persons are strictly
forbid harbouring them, on pain

of being prosecuted to the utmost
rigour of the law. Ten guineas
will be paid to anyone who can
give intelligence of their being

harboured, employed, or enter-
tained by a white person upon
his sentence; five on conviction
of a black. All Masters of vessels

are warned against carrying them
out of state, as they may claim
to be free. If any of the above
Negroes return of their own

accord, they may still be for-
given by

                            ELIZABETH YOUNG.

Kevin Young, “Reward” from Most Way Home. Copyright © 2000 by Kevin Young. Reprinted with the permission of Zoland Books/Steerforth Press

Source: Most Way Home (Zoland Books, 2000)

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Poet Kevin Young b. 1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue

 Kevin  Young

Biography

Kevin Young was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He studied under Seamus Heaney and Lucie Brock-Broido at Harvard University and, while a student there, became a member of the Dark Room Collective, a community of African American writers founded by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Sharan Strange. He was awarded a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, and later earned an MFA from Brown University. Three of Kevin Young’s books form what . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT History & Politics, Social Commentaries, Race & Ethnicity

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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