Kenneth Irby was born in Bowie, Texas, in 1936 and has won many awards for his poetry. Irby grew up in Fort Scott, Kansas, and began writing poetry at the early age of 13.
Irby has degrees from Harvard University, University of California-Berkeley and the University of Kansas. He also was awarded a Fulbright travel grant as a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen. He currently teaches in the Department of English at the University of Kansas and lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
He has lived, worked, served in the U.S. Army, and taught in Colorado, Copenhagen, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Northern California, and the North Pacific.
In 1958, while Irby attended Harvard University, he heard poets such as Kenneth Rexroth, Allen Ginsberg and Charles Olson read at a local bookstore, and he began to read Olson’s poetry. Later, while serving in the Army in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he met Edward Dorn and, through him, Robert Creeley, poets who would be influential to his own writing.
His first publication was a broadside, "The Oregon Trail," in 1964, followed by "The Roadrunner Poem" the same year. The following year Duende Press in New Mexico issues his Movements/Sequences, with an afterword by Creeley.
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- The Intent On: Collected Poems 1962-2006 (North Atlantic Books, 2009)
- Ridge to Ridge: Poems 1990-2000 (OtherWind Press, 2002)
- Studies: Cuts, Shots Takes (First Intensity Press, 2001)
- [syzygos] (Arcturus Editions, 1999)
- Some March Notes, 1995 (Oasii Press, 1995)
- Antiphonal and Fall to Fall (Kavyayantra Press, 1994)
- Call Steps: Plains, Camps, Stations, Consistories (Station Hill Press and Tansy press, 1992)
- Two Studies (Tansy Press, 1989)
- A Set (Tansy Press, 1983)
- Orexis (Station Hill Press, 1981)
- Homage to Andrei Bely (Helen, 1981)
- Planks Turned to Marble (Tansy Press, 1979)
- A Gift for Friends: Summer Solstice 1978 (privately printed, 1978)
- From Some Etudes (Tansy Press, 1978)
- Catalpa (Tansy Press, 1977)
- For the Snow Queen (Tansy Press, 1976)
- In Excelsis Borealis (White Creek Press, 1976)
- Archipelago (Tuumba Press, 1976)
- To Max Douglas (Tansy 4/Peg Leg Press Publications, 1971)/enlarged edition Tansy/Peg Leg Press, 1974)
- Riding the Dog (The Zelot Press, 1972)
- Relation: Poems 1965-1966 (Black Sparrow Press, 1970)
- The Flower of Having Passed Through Paradise in a Dream: Poems 1967(Matter Press, 1968)
- Movements/Sequences (Duende Press, 1965)
- Kansas-New Mexico (Terrence Williams, 1965)
- The Roadrunner Poem (Duende Press, 1964)
- The Oregon Trail (Dialogue Press, 1964)