More About the Author
D. H. Kerby was born in California to left-liberal parents who were also political journalists. He was educated on the East Coast of the United States and in Europe, focusing mainly on physics and philosophy, viewing the latter as providing an opportunity to improve his opinion about what sort of government is best.
Trying to understand what was between the lines of the newspapers to which his mother and father paid so much attention, he has traveled in some twenty-five foreign countries, many of which were undergoing profound social or political transformation. Once, after listing the places he's been and the historical changes (wars, coups d'etat, revolutions) that were taking place at those times he was asked, "So, do you go to these places because these things are happening there, or do these things happen there because you go to these places?" It is a question about which he takes the Fifth, though he would point out that we have known since quantum mechanics that all observation changes what's observed.
In 1990, he was an assistant to political prisoners and their families in Cape Town, South Africa, meeting many men and women as they emerged from the crucible of apartheid's notorious prisons to which they had been consigned for resisting white minority rule. Kerby's opposition to U.S. intervention in Central America had by then taken him to Nicaragua, which he visited during the contra war.
He has worked for The Association for Responsible Dissent and its successor organization, the Association of National Security Alumni, organizations of former U.S. intelligence officers and interested others. The second group worked for greater transparency and more Congressional oversight and control of U.S. intelligence agencies.
His book-length poem It Fell From the Sky, It Must be Ours (Dhaka: Blitz, 2006) was praised in these terms by Peter Dale Scott, former Canadian diplomat and Professor Emeritus of English Literature at U.C. Berkeley: "Kerby's short epic is an awakened poem of the nightmare we live in, one in which both religion and science are at the service of oppressors. More intensely personal and self-questioning than Ginsberg's Howl, his poem also gives more authentic snapshots of our chaotic world, from the streets of Jerusalem, Frankfurt, Managua, and Port-au-Prince to the pressroom of the United Nations. Readers will share his vivid experiences, whether of an unfolding military coup d'etat, or of invasive psychiatric obtuseness. Above all, one feels the agony of 'a man of peace in a situation of war.'" The University Research Library at U.C.L.A., the Los Angeles Public Library, and McCabe Library at Swarthmore College each owns copies of the book.
He has lived in London, Oxford, Berkeley, Paris, Amsterdam, and Los Angeles. He is currently editing and working on an introduction to a book of his father Phil's correspondence from the period beginning in 1953, when Joseph McCarthy spoke in Wheeling, West Virginia, through the years of the anti-Viet Nam War movement. To complete the project, he will be seeking the permission of the literary heirs of each of his father's correspondents to publish the letters. Phil Kerby corresponded with some of the most powerful people in American political life, and was the winner of the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing criticizing excessive government secrecy and judicial censorship. Permission to use letters by Eleanor Roosevelt, Senator Frank Church, Adlai Stevenson, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Bertrand Russell, and I. F. Stone has already been granted.
D. H. Kerby is a survivor of torture and now makes his home in Philadelphia near the University of Pennsylvania and reads his poetry from time to time on its campus.