Born in Klaipeda, Lithuania, Kemezys was raised and educated in the Lithuanian language and he lived in Germany too during childhood. Kemezys came to Australia in the late 1940s and later, in the early 1960s, took up residence in Canberra where he gained a PhD in Palaeontology from the Australian National University.
For many years Kemezys could not imagine writing poetry in English because it lacked the diminutive and gender nouns that lent warmth to his words. However, translating many poems from Lithuanian into English overcame his reserve and gave him insight into the nature of the English language. His creativity has been motivated by Ancient Greek muses.