Poet Jake Adam York, 40, has died

Poet Jake Adam York, 40, died unexpectedly Sunday. The news was reported by colleagues at a number of venues that had published his work, including the New England Review, the blog of Best American Poetry and the Kenyon Review. They did not report the cause of death.

York, an associate professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, was the author of three collections of poetry and a book of literary history. He had recently been named a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship in poetry for 2013.

York’s most recent collection of poetry was 2010’s “Persons Unknown.” “A Murmuration of Starlings” was the winner of the 2008 Colorado Book Award in Poetry; “Murder Ballads” was published in 2005.


In 2012, York taught at the Kenyon Review’s summer Writers Workshop and Young Writers program; the journal has posted recordings of him reading poetry from that time. Some of these poems, the Kenyon Review notes, are from an as-yet unpublished manuscript titled “Abide.”

One of the poems is “Self-Portrait as Superman (Alternate Take),” which is published in the new issue of the New England Review. At Best American Poetry, managing editor Stacey Harwood writes, “We mourn the loss of Jake Adam York, who died suddenly today. Jake was 40. Too too young. He was a kind generous talented poet and a good man.”

Blogging for the Kenyon Review in 2011, York asked, “How long should a poetry reading be?” His answer: “I think it should be long enough to satisfy, long enough that you stop thinking about whether it’s enough, but so long that you wonder if it’s too much.”


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