Winner of the SIBA Book Award For Poetry
Winner of the Gold Medal in Poetry from the Florida Book Awards
Winner of the National Book Award Finalist
Winner of the Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist
The poems in The House on Boulevard St. were written within earshot of David Kirby's Old World masters, Shakespeare and Dante. From the former, Kirby takes the compositional method of organizing not only the whole book but also each separate section as a dream; from the latter, a three-part scheme that gives the book rough symmetry. Long-lined and often laugh-aloud funny, Kirby's poems are ample steamer trunks into which the poet seems to be able to put just about anything—the heated restlessness of youth, the mixed blessings of self-imposed exile, the settled pleasures of home. As the poet Philip Levine says, "the world that Kirby takes into his imagination and the one that arises from it merge to become a creation like no other, something like the world we inhabit but funnier and more full of wonder and terror. He has evolved a poetic vision that seems able to include anything, and when he lets it sweep him across the face of Europe and America, the results are astonishing."
. . . far from being harmed by lacunae and uncertainties,
poetry is actually helped by them,
so here goes: "La beauté sera convulsive ou ne sera pas,"
said André Breton, and let love too
be convulsive or let it not be at all. Chaps, let us rise above the hermit crabs
and hermits and old blind dogs, for when we invent our truest selves,
the lovers we deserve will appear.
Therefore let us learn another language. Let us set our hair on fire
and charge into battle against a numberless foe.
Let us sail upriver. Let us eat shit, drink blood, choke on pleasure.
I hear America singing; it sounds like Little Richard.
He says, When she winks an eye,
the bread slice turn to toast, and I dream of Jayne Mansfield.
He says, When she smiles, the beefsteak
become well done, and I dream of Mamie Van Doren, Cyd Charisse.
“For Men Only” published in The House on Boulevard St. by David Kirby.
Copyright © 2007 by David Kirby. All rights reserved.
David Kirby is the author of numerous books, including The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems, a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award, and Talking about Movies with Jesus, winner of the 2011 L. E. Phillabaum Poetry Prize. The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, he is a recipient of National Endowment of the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships, among other honors.
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