He graduated from the University of Kansas, from Harvard University with an A.M., and from the University of California, Berkeley with a M.L.S. degree. He was a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen on a Fulbright grant. Irby's last role was as a Professor of English at the University of Kansas.
A colloquium held at the University of Kansas on November 5, 2011 honored Irby's work, on the occasion of his 75th birthday. Contributions were made by fellow poets Joseph Harrington, Denise Low, Benjamin Friedlander, Pierre Joris, and Lyn Hejinian.
He died on 30 July 2015.
- Lyn Hejinian, David Lehman, eds. (2004). "[Record]". The Best American Poetry 2004. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-5757-2.
- Kyle Waugh, Cyrus Console, eds. (2009). The Intent On: Collected Poems 1962-2006. North Atlantic Books. ISBN 978-1-55643-833-2.
- Studies, First Intensiy Press, 2001, ISBN 978-1-889960-05-0
- Ridge to Ridge, Other Wind Press, 2001, ISBN 978-0-9626046-6-9
- Antiphonal and Fall to Fall, Kavyayantra Press, 1994
- Call Steps, Station Hill/Tansy, 1992; Midpoint Trade Books Inc, 1997, ISBN 978-1-886449-58-9
- Orexis, Station Hill, 1981, ISBN 978-0-930794-17-0
- Catalpa, Tansy Press, 1977
- To Max Douglas, Tansy Peg Leg Press, 1974
- Relation: poems, 1965-1966, Black Sparrow, 1970.
- The flower of having passed through paradise in a dream: poems, 1967, Kelly, 1968
- "Kenneth Irby: A Bibliography".
- "UGA Today".
- "Shelley Winners".
- greenintegerblog. "The PIP (Project for Innovative Poetry) Blog".
- "KU professor Kenneth Irby wins prestigious poetry award - KU News".
- "Kenneth Irby Obituary - Lawrence, KS - Lawrence Journal-World". Lawrence Journal-World.
- Station Hill Authors - Kenneth Irby
- "Kenneth Irby", Penn Sound
- University of Buffalo review of Irby's poems
- Arcturus Editions: by Kenneth Irby
- Kenneth Irby at Poets & Writers
- Works by or about Kenneth Irby in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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