Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Holloway Series in Poetry - Kenneth Irby

Lyn Hejinian introduces Kenneth Irby reading--featured on the Ron Silliman Poetry Blog and YouTube. Irby begins reading about 22 minutes into this tape. Kenneth Irby was born in 1936 in Bowie, Texas and raised in Fort Scott, in Kansas. He served in the U.S. Army and holds degrees from Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. He teaches English at the University of Kansas. He has published nineteen poetry books, including The Flower of Having Passed Through Paradise in a Dream, Kansas-New Mexico, To Max Douglas, Orexis, Call Steps: Plains, Camps, Situations, Consistories, and Ridge to Ridge among other titles. Jed Rasula wrote, "Irby's origins in Kansas, much traced in his work (and unfortunately often the only thing people know him for), is given such a clear realization in the early books that that locality persists largely because of the poetry's achievement of it as land (re)gained in vision." Rasula goes further: "Irby's continental grasp yields not geography (to allay the fears of those who suspect him of writing 'dull geography') but 'a world shared not just of references but possibilities/to excitement.'" In 2010 he was a co-winner of the Shelley Memorial Award.