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The Shelley Memorial Award-winning poet and KU faculty member Kenneth Irby turned 75 in 2011. In the tradition of other events acknowledging major figures in contemporary poetry, such as the May 7, 2011 celebration of Robert Kelly in New York City and that of Amiri Baraka in Newark, New Jersey in 2009, the Eberhardt Colloquium at the University of Kansas on November 5, 2011 was in his honor and celebrated his astonishing oeuvre.

Both national and local scholars and poets examined Irby’s life and work through lectures celebrating his contribution to American Literature. The day concluded with a poetry reading by Irby himself.

Featured speakers and presentations included:
- Lyn Hejinian, UC-Berkeley,“We Might Say Poetry”
- Pierre Joris, SUNY-Albany,“Irby’s Very Own North Atlantic Turbine”
- Ben Friedlander, University of Maine,“The Walk to the Paradise Garden”
- Denise Low, Haskell Indian Nations University,“Sensory Typ/Topographies: Ken Irby’s Atlas to the World”
- Joe Harrington, University of Kansas,“Kansas &/or Oz, in the Poems of Kenneth Irby and Ronald Johnson”

The colloquium was sponsored by the Department of English,The Hall Center for the Humanities, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and the Spencer Museum of Art. An issue of the online journal Jacket 2 was devoted to the proceedings, and included other solicited essays, letters, and critical remembrances.The issue was edited by William J. Harris and by Kyle Waugh, co-editor of Irby’s collected poems, The Intent On.

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