Kerry Shawn Keys' roots are in Appalachia. He lives in Vilnius, where he taught translation theory and creative composition as a Fulbright lecturer at Vilnius University.
He has dozens of books to his credit, including translations from Portuguese and Lithuanian, and his own poems rooted in rural America and Europe, and in Brazil and India where he lived for a considerable time. His work ranges from theatre-dance pieces to flamenco songs to meditations on the Tao Te Ching, and is often lyrical with intense ontological concerns. Recently, he has been writing prose wonderscripts and monologues for the stage. A children's book, Land Of People, won a Lithuanian laureate for artwork he co-authored.
He often performs with the free jazz percussionist, Vladimir Tarasov - they released a CD in the Spring of 2006.
Recent books are Conversations With Tertium Quid and The Burning Mirror.
Keys received the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America in 1992, and in 2005 a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship. He also received the Translation Laureate Award from the Lithuanian Writers' Union in 2003. He was a Fulbright Research grantee for African-Brazilian studies. He is a member of PEN and the Lithuanian Writers' Union. Selected poems have appeared in Czech and Lithuanian.