Kiki Gallery, 483 14th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Kevin Killian (born 1952) is an American poet, author, editor, and playwright of primarily LGBT literature. My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, which he co-edited with Peter Gizzi, won the American Book Award for poetry in 2009. His novel, Impossible Princess, won the 2010 Lambda Literary Award as the best gay erotic fiction work of 2009.
Killian is also co-founder of the Poets Theater, an influential poetry, stage, and performance group based in San Francisco.
Kevin Killian was raised Roman Catholic and attended a Roman Catholic parochial school run by Franciscan friars. He discussed these experiences in an essay in the edited work Wrestling With the Angel, which describes the experiences of 21 gay men with religion. He was also the New York City spelling bee champion.
Kevin attended graduate school at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (SUNY-Stony Brook) in the 1970s, and moved to San Francisco in 1980. Although he is gay and Dodie Bellamy is a lesbian, the couple married and have an active heterosexual sex life. Killian admired the work of JT LeRoy (later to be revealed as the pen name and persona of author Laura Albert), and held public readings of LeRoy's work in 2000.
As a beginning novelist, Killian tied for first place in the "Hamming Up Hammett" Dashiell Hammett bad writing contest in San Francisco in 1988. Author Dodie Bellamy featured him as a partially fictional character in her vampire novel, The Letters of Mina Harker. His poetry has appeared in the anthology The Best American Poetry 1988, the magazine Discontents, and the anthology Good Times: Bad Trips. Killian once based an entire volume of poetry on the work of horror film director Dario Argento (motivated to do so as a response to the AIDS epidemic). Killian also helped author Alvin Orloff polish chapters of his novel Gutterboys. Noted author Edmund White, writing in The New York Times, described his work as "a kind of mandarin American casualness that is peculiar to ... West Coast writers ... a school of refined but deceptively offhand stylists." The Village Voice called My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, which he co-edited with Peter Gizzi, "impeccably edited". The work was also highly praised by The New York Times.
Killian's 2009 collection of short gay erotic fiction, Impossible Princess, won the Lambda Literary Foundation Award for best gay men's erotica. It was his third collection of short fiction.
Killian is founder and former director of Small Press Traffic. He now edits the poetry 'zine Mirage.
Killian also has some acting experience. His interest in theatre emerged in the early 1980s when he saw experimental plays by Carla Harryman. Harryman and Tom Mandel subsequently cast him in their play, Fist of the Colossus. He co-founded the Poets Theater in San Francisco, and has acted in as well as written pieces for staging by the group. As of 2001, he had written 31 plays. He co-authored the performance art piece The Red and the Green in 2005 with cinemtographer Karla Milosevich. In 2009, Killian and David Brazil co-edited a collection of Poets Theater pieces, The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theatre: 1945-1985.
KKillian is also active in bringing attention to important LGBTQ artists and writers of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. He has held poetry readings of a wide number of influential poets and writers, and participated in a number of panels, art installations, retrospectives, and memorials. For example, in 2008 he was a featured speaker at a University of Maine "Poetry of the 1970s" conference. He and artist Colter Jacobsen also helped organize a major tribute to the Kiki Gallery ("Kiki: The Proof Is in the Pudding"), a highly influential art gallery in San Francisco in the 1980s which featured the work of LGBTQ artists.
BACK TO HOME PAGE