Beat era poet and writer whose lyrical, evocative verses and brutal, bleakly humorous prose made him a mainstay of the North Beach literary scene.
Kirby, 70, passed on April 5, 2003 at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco after a long illness.
He was a handsome, big-smiled Irish American rascal, his longtime friend and fellow poet Michael McClure recalled.
He was an original Beat, loose- jointed, with a great
laugh. His poetry was beautiful stuff.
In the 1950s he was a culinary school student and an art major at San Francisco State University when he began dashing off poetry for the college literary magazine and several small reviews. In the late 1950s, he wrote a highly acclaimed set of 36 brief love poems published under the title SAPPHOBONES.
Words like mad exotic birds fluttering/from my thorax/
whipping my speech -- moist and gaudy feathers/
gone from my lips upward -- he wrote.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Kirby stopped writing for long periods, living alone on Mount Tamalpais and battling drug and alcohol addictions In later years, Kirby worked on an epic poem titled Pre American Ode and a novella titled White Flesh.
Source: Steve Rubenstein, SFGate
Link: Michael McClure and Peter Coyote remember Kirby Doyle at Empty Mirror
by Allen Cohen
Great surprising event especially Kirby's daughter, Kelley, speaking of her view of Kirby as both icon and psychotic - Michael McClure about Kirby's pad in 57 near Batman Gallery, everyone grabbed onto a different part of the elephant and so we saw Kirby in all his facets.
I spoke of his interactions of his days with me at the Oracle and read from an article he wrote for the Oracle - In prose he wrote like he talked so it was very direct and he ended his article with a short very direct uncluttered Chinese-style poem:
Now, as pen point and shadow
touch this page
I look up almost stunned to
know that from your sleep you have loved me.
and from my awakening I have loved you back
© Kirby Doyle