Poet and Writer Kevin Killian On Books, Reading, and Facebook

Installation view of The Library of Particular Significance within the exhibition Bound to Be Held: A Book Show. Installation photo by Johnna Arnold.

Artist Josh Greene's two-part exhibition Bound to Be Held: A Book Show celebrates the relationship between a reader and a book. One part of the exhibition, The Library of Particular Significance, focuses on instigating social interaction by recasting the gallery as a lending-library of donated "significant" books—a space for dwelling, reading, and connecting. 

A series of related public programs called In The Library of Particular Significance enlivens the space with read-ins, book discussions, and literary happenings led by special guests. Last week, writers and poets Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy collaboratively covered a lot of bookish ground: on books they first read and bought, on writers they met, on books (and book deals) that got away, and more. Below, Killian answers a few more of our bookish questionsdivulging his favorite reading spot, his book fetish, and how much time he spends on Facebook.

Writers and poets Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian with artist Josh Greene in The Library of Particular Significance. Photo by Gravity Goldberg.

1. In six words, tell us what you do.
I work for a janitorial company.

2. What book did you donate to The Library of Particular Significance (LPS)?
The catalogue raisonne of artist John Currin, signed by him with an inscription to my wife.

3. Describe what makes a book “particularly significant” to you?

I have a fetish for autographed books, or books given me by the dead loved ones I have known, beginning with my late mother and father.

4. What is your opinion on how the book (as an object) has changed with the rise of tablets, e-readers, etc?
I am reading fewer books than I once did, due to having to spend so much time liking people Facebook status updates. Maybe that's just me, but this weakness is shared by at least a few other friends I know.

5. Tell us about your ideal reading setting.
When I'm giving a reading there's no place like the upstairs poetry room at City Lights Books in San Francisco.

6. What are you reading now?
I am reading a beautiful book of poetry, HOUSES by Nikki Wallschlager (Horse Less Press).

About the Author

One of the original “New Narrative” writers of the 1980s, Kevin Killian lives and works in San Francisco. Recent books include an edition of Jack Spicer’s Collected Poems, a book of stories from City Lights Books (Impossible Princess), and a second volume of his Selected Amazon Reviews. 2013 brought a new novel (Spreadeagle) from Publication Studio, and a book of intimate photographs of poets, musicians, artists and filmmakers, called Tagged. His poems, many of which deal with the AIDS epidemic, its aftermath and its desolation, are gathered in three volumes, Argento Series, Action Kylie, and Tweaky Village.


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