Kevin Killian was born on December 24, 1952, on Long Island, New York. He received a BA from Fordham University and an MA from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
He authored more than thirty novels, plays, stories, and poetry collections, including Tony Greene Era (Wonder, 2017), Tweaky Village (Wonder, 2014), Action Kylie (In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni, 2008), and Argento Series (Krupskaya, 2001). He also edited Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative Writing 1977-1997 with his wife Dodie Bellamy (Nightboat Books, 2017); My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer with Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan Poetry Series, 2010), which won an American Book Award; and The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater: 1945-1985 (Kenning Editions, 2010), among other works.
Killian was one of the leading writers in the San Francisco-based New Narrative movement founded by Robert Glück, Bruce Boone, Camille Roy, and others in the early 1980s, in reaction to Language poetry. New Narrative writing celebrates LGBTQ identity, autobiography, poetic disjunction, critical theory, gossip, pop culture, fable, and sexuality. Other writers associated with New Narrative include Steve Abbott, Kathy Acker, Dodie Bellamy, Mary Burger, Dennis Cooper, Sam D’Allesandro, and Gail Scott.
He led the San Francisco Poets Theater since 1986, and was a longtime volunteer with Small Press Traffic, a nonprofit literary organization at the center of innovative and experimental writing in San Francisco, California, founded in 1974.
Killian taught writing in the MFA program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he lived. He died on June 15, 2019.