Kurt Brown was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1944 and grew up on Long Island and in Connecticut. He received a BA from the University of Connecticut and an MA from the University of Colorado.
Brown founded the Aspen Writer’s Conference, now called Summer Words, in 1976. It was there that he met his wife, Belgian-American poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar, as well as the poet Stephen Dunn, who writes that Brown’s poetry “plumbs and reexamines the familiar language of our culture, and simultaneously is a personal search for the authentic.” Brown later wrote an account of this period, entitled Lost Sheep: Aspen’s Counterculture in the 1970s—A Memoir (Conundrum Press, 2012).
He was the author of several full-length poetry collections, including Time-Bound (Tiger Bark Press, 2012), No Other Paradise: Poems (Red Hen Press, 2010), Future Ship (Red Hen Press, 2008), and Return of the Prodigals (Four Way Books, 1999). He also published six chapbooks. A selected collection of his poetry, I’ve Come This Far to Say Hello: Poems Selected and New (Tiger Bark Press), was published in 2014. Charles Simic praises “the range and originality, the beauty and depth, of the poems in this posthumous book.”
He was also a prolific editor and compiled several poetry anthologies, including Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem (Everyman’s Library, 2011). With Laure-Anne Bosselaar, he edited Night Out: Poems about Hotels, Motels, Restaurants and Bars (Milkweed Editions, 1997) and translated The Plural of Happiness: Selected Poems of Herman de Coninck (Oberlin College Press, 2006).
A founding director of AWP’s Writers’ Conferences & Centers, he also served on the boards of Sarabande Books and of Poets House. He taught at Sarah Lawrence College, Georgia Tech, and Westminster College and lived most recently in Santa Barbara, California. He died on June 16, 2013.