Kaye McDonough's Pagan reverberates with a loving touch that spares nothing. Within its pages the impressions of a poet who focuses on lovers, friends and family comes to life. The deft artistry of Vermeer, the splendid pathos of Beat legend Bob Kaufman, and the lives of many women are among the themes handled with grace and craftsmanship. McDonough serves as a witness to the mysteries of the ordinary. The impressive range of Pagan will serve to enlighten and entertain generations to come." -Neeli Cherkovski (author of From the Middle Woods)
"Kaye McDonough's engaging and powerful poetry has gone uncollected for far too long. As a result this is a most welcome volume that all readers will delight in. McDonough's intelligence, wit, and skill show in every line and my admiration for her verse grows with every reading. Each one is a jewel, compelling and filled with an integrity rarely found in poetry today. At moments her refreshingly introspective nature takes us deep into the very soul of the poet. This book is a gift to all of us who delight in finely crafted and beautifully executed poetry. Her tender lines leave us delighted and thankful we've been lucky enough to discover her. This elegant book has been well worth waiting for." -Bill Morgan (author of Beat Atlas: A Guide to the Beat Generation in America)
"This is a book by someone who has experienced widely, read deeply, and on whom nothing has been lost. I can't say enough about her diligence, and about her diffident but nevertheless vital sense of her vocation as a writer and her understanding of her own sensibility and her literary heritage. Her work has grace, gravitas, an exquisite lightness of touch, and is entirely her own." -Vijay Seshadri (author of The Long Meadow)
Kaye McDonough has such a unique poetic voice, and her new Pagan: Selected Poems distills it, especially in her poems for Isadora Duncan and Bob Kaufman, both pagans of another age." -Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Kaye McDonough was born in Pittsburgh in 1943 and studied literature at Vassar College before transferring to the University of California at Berkeley where she earned a degree in Art History during the turbulent 60s amid demonstrations, riots and sit-ins. She went to Paris in 1963 and explored the literary haunts of the 'lost generation' before making her way back to the West Coast of California and becoming part of the scene in San Francisco during the 1960s as a young publisher of Greenlight Press (handset and hand-sewn editions of North Beach poets and artists) and associate editor and typesetter for Alix Geluardi's now classic anthology of San Francisco poets, 185. As something of a lighthouse for the 1970s North Beach scene, she was a fixture at all Beatitude/City Lights events, wowing audiences and readers with her theatrical poems on Zelda Fitzgerald. Her book Zelda: Frontier Life in America, a finalist in the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center awards under Artistic Director Lloyd Richards, was published in 1978 by City Lights followed by performances at St. Clement's Theatre in New York City and at other off-off-Broadway venues. Legal troubles from the Fitzgerald Estate soon followed.
In the 1980s, she became involved* for a time with Beat Generation poet Gregory Corso, having a son from that union, Nile Corso, now 29 studying at Johns Hopkins. In the 1990s, she left San Francisco and moved back East to Pittsburgh before moving eventually to New Haven, Connecticut – where she still resides. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has been a visiting playwright/poet at City College of New York (CUNY at 138th), University of Utah, and Brown University. She has taught at various colleges and universities (Univ. of Connecticut at Avery Point, Eastern Connecticut State, Manhattanville, Quinnipiac University, University of Hartford and several community colleges) while continuing to do readings and to publish in numerous small press mags and zines (you can see them below). She is currently at work on a memoir, The Spell of Bohemia.