Professor Karim Remembers Poet Al Young

Monday, April 26, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Among his students was Persis Karim, now a professor of comparative literature at San Francisco State University. She had never heard of Young and took his class by accident when he was a last-minute fill-in for another professor.

“He had this beautiful booming voice and exuded love,” recalled Karim, the daughter of Iranian and French immigrants who had no idea when she entered Young’s class as a junior that she was being launched on her career path. “I became a poet in part because of Al and his encouragement.”

Karim later edited “Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora,” published in 2006 with a foreword by Young, and she was among the poets to campaign for Young to be named poet laureate of California.