Kurt Brown, Poet and Advocate, has Died

August 13, 2013

Kurt Brown

American poetry, and the larger literary world, lost one of its biggest champions on the night of June 16, when Kurt Brown died from a stroke in his sleep, in California. Poet, editor, memoirist, essayist, teacher, and administrator, Kurt Brown was the founding director of the Aspen Writers’ Conference, now in its 37th year, and founding director of AWP’s Writers’ Conferences & Centers (formerly Writers’ Conferences & Festivals) now in its 23rd year. He served on the board of Sarabande Books for many years, and on the board of Poets House in New York for six years.

Brown was the author of six chapbooks and six full-length books of poetry, most recently Time Bound, from Tiger Bark Press, which will publish his new and selected poems in 2014. He also edited or co-edited seven poetry anthologies, including, most recently, Killer Verse: Poems about Murder & Mayhem. He was the editor of three anthologies of lectures: The True Subject, Writing it Down for James, and Facing the Lion, which gathered outstanding lectures from writers’ conferences and festivals.

Lost Sheep: A Portrait of Aspen in the ’70s, Brown’s memoir describing the town during a crucial period in its history, was published in 2012. A book of translations, with his wife, the poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar, entitled The Plural of Happiness: Selected Poems of Herman de Coninck, was published in 2006.

Brown taught poetry workshops and craft classes at Sarah Lawrence College, and he was recently the McEver Visiting Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech in Atlanta as well as a visiting writer at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. He was also an editor for the online journal, MEAD: The Magazine of Literature and Libations. Kurt is survived by his wife.

A celebration of the life and work of Kurt Brown will be held at AWP’s Seattle conference in 2014.

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