3 minute read

Judy Young (1956-) Biography

Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1956, in Springfield, MO; Education: University of Tulsa, B.S., 1978, M.A., 1980. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, camping, traveling, reading, fishing.


Speech and language pathologist, 1980—; writer, 1996—. Workshop presenter in schools and for professional organizations.


National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Missouri Writers Guild, Missouri State Poetry Society (youth chair, 2001—), Missouri Poets and Friends (secretary, 2000-02), Springfield Writers' Guild (treasurer, 2001), Ozark Writers League.

Honors Awards

Springfield Writers' Guild award, 2000, for "The Whistler"; Missouri State Poetry Society Summer 2000 Poetry Contest award, for "Arch of Neck," and Missouri State Poetry Society Winter 2001 Poetry Contest award, for "White Rabbits with Red Wings."


S Is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet, illustrated by husband, Ross B. Young, Sleeping Bear Press (Chelsea, MI), 2001.

Poetry & Paint: Selected Works, illustrated by husband, Ross B. Young, Xlibris, 2003.

Contributor, How to Write Poetry: Ballad to Villanelle, Night Owl Publications, 2000. Contributor of poetry to periodicals and annuals, including Grist Anthology, Missouri State Poetry Society Newsletter, Ozark Mountaineer, Hodgepodge Short Stories and Poetry, and Parnassus.


Judy Young told SATA: "Most of my writing is in the genre of poetry. I am fascinated with words and, in writing my poems, I love arranging words so that in expressing a thought or emotion, or in describing what I see or feel, each word has an impact, each word counts. I like to use both traditional poetic forms and free verse. Which I use depends on what I want to say. Some ideas seem to demand a traditional poetic structure and some want more freedom. I sometimes go through a mental exercise of writing the same poem in a variety of ways, such as in a sonnet, a haiku, and in free verse to find the voice that best works for that particular piece.

"I began writing poetry at a very young age and have written throughout my life. However, writing as a major part of my life began when I was forty. I walk daily and decided one day to write a poem about each day's walk for an entire summer. Although I haven't continued to write an entire poem a day, this got me started writing on a regular basis. It was about that time that I began to submit work to magazines and literary journals and was pleased with my success in getting published. In 2000, my husband, Ross, who is a professional artist, was asked to illustrate a book about Missouri. After talking with the publisher at Sleeping Bear Press, it ended up that I would write and he would illustrate the book. Thus started our first collaborative effort with the production of S Is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet. Working together, we discovered that the mental processes used for both poetry writing and painting were very similar, we just used different mediums. That led to our second collaboration, Poetry & Paint: Selected Works, in which I have written poems in response to Ross's paintings and he has painted paintings in response to my poems.

"An enjoyable outcome of becoming a published author is that I have been invited to speak to both students and adults at schools, literature festivals, young author celebrations, educational conferences, libraries, and even nature centers. It is always a pleasure, especially those that involve children. I have also developed and presented workshops on poetry and writing.

"Because I work full time as a speech and language pathologist in the public schools, time to write is very precious. I always carry paper and pen with me to jot down ideas, which seem to spring up when least expected. I might like the sound of a word I hear, see something extraordinarily beautiful or get an idea from a conversation. I save these for nighttime, when I do most of my writing. I have a small study, the walls covered with paintings and lined with bookshelves. I prefer to write sitting in my rocking chair rather than at my desk. My dog, Roca, is often laying by my feet and I am usually playing instrumental jazz on my CD. I use paper and pen, saving the computer, which is not in my study, to type up work for final editing. When my door to my study is closed, my family knows to leave me alone; I am doing what I love."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Carlos Watson Biography - Was a Student Journalist to Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) Biography