The Biscuit Joint: Poems

Overview

Praise for David Kirby

"Kirby is exuberant, irrepressible, maniacal and remarkably entertaining.... Okay, let me just say it: he is a wonderful poet." — Steve Kowit, San Diego Union-Tribune

"Kirby's voice and matter (teaching, literature, traveling, rock 'n' roll, everyday bozohood) are utterly personal and, despite all the laughter, ultimately moving." — Ray Olson, Booklist

"[Kirby] is a poet who peels away the layers of our skin to show us who we are: our weaknesses, our strengths, and our hilarious ...

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Overview

Praise for David Kirby

"Kirby is exuberant, irrepressible, maniacal and remarkably entertaining.... Okay, let me just say it: he is a wonderful poet." — Steve Kowit, San Diego Union-Tribune

"Kirby's voice and matter (teaching, literature, traveling, rock 'n' roll, everyday bozohood) are utterly personal and, despite all the laughter, ultimately moving." — Ray Olson, Booklist

"[Kirby] is a poet who peels away the layers of our skin to show us who we are: our weaknesses, our strengths, and our hilarious obsessions." — Micah Zevin, New Pages

"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." — Philip Levine, Ploughshares

"These poems may be too cool for words." — Carol Muske-Dukes, New York Times Book Review

Inspired by the carpenter's biscuit joint — a seamless, undetectable fit between pieces of wood — David Kirby's latest collection dramatizes the artistic mind as a hidden connection that links the mundane with the remarkable. Even in our most ordinary actions, Kirby shows, there lies a wealth of creative inspiration: "the poem that is written every day if we're there / to read it."

Well known for his garrulous and comic musings, Kirby follows a wandering yet calculated path. In "What's the Plan, Artists?" a girl's yawning in a picture gallery leads him to meditations on subjects as diverse as musical composition, the less-than-beautiful human figure, and "the simple pleasures / of living." The Biscuit Joint traverses seemingly random thoughts so methodically that the journey from beginning to end always proves satisfying and surprising.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
If Kirby gets away with a kind of uncontainable positivity in these poems, he does so in the same way that he gets away with an ode to his hands that, he seems to brag, “have caressed the bottoms of friends’ wives who, to their credit, turned/ in surprise and, on seeing it was me, smiled indulgently/ and went back to their conversations.” Cheerful and boyish, Kirby’s new collection of poems is titled after a woodworking technique used to create an invisible joint between two disparate pieces of wood. The poems flit seamlessly from a senior discount on a cup of coffee to a “guy out there named Señor Poetry. He’ d be at a table in a plaza somewhere with his wife and daughter,/ Señora and Señorita Poetry.” The poems are long and chatty, prosey at times, written as though Kirby was trying to keep up with some bright inspiration moving at breakneck speed. Kirby’s poem “Breathless,” also the name of a French film and a song by Jerry Lee Lewis, adds a hint of tension to the usual ease of his subject matter, asking: “how do you know when to stop?” “If these poems work,” Kirby writes, “they work best when they move the way the mind does.” (Aug.)
Library Journal
09/15/2013
A National Book Award finalist and recipient of the L.E. Phillabaum Poetry Prize, Kirby (The House on Boulevard St.) himself describes the success of his poems aptly: "they work best when they move the way the mind does." And move they do, with impatience, gratitude, and humor toward a new thought that arrives either too fast, too late, or never: "'Medium coffee,' I say, and think, Hold on, I've had too much/ already, so I say, 'No, make it a small—wait a sec,' and the counter/ guy says, 'You want a senior coffee?' and I say, 'No—uh, yeah.'" In other poems in which Kirby is timing the drama of his mind, he suddenly gives in to the whims of the imagination: "And then the dream was out west somewhere, though/ this time I wasn't in it anymore, just a lot of cowboys,/ …My psychodynamic electrohelmet would be a miracle…and with it I would build a pleasure dome,/ sunny but with caves of ice, and a beautiful woman/ there, and honeydew, and I'd drink the cherry cola of Paradise." While requiring nothing more from readers than an interest, these poems are carefully crafted in their exuberance. VERDICT A poet of instinct, Kirby will reach the artistic observer and inspire laughter from a deep place.—Annalisa Pesek, Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807151075
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/2013
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 941,907
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David Kirby

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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