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The House of Blue Light: Poems
     

The House of Blue Light: Poems

by David Kirby
 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The quadumvirate of men--Stephen Dunn, Tony Hoagland, Billy Collins and Albert Goldbarth--who provide blurbs for Kirby's fifth collection reads like a who's who of the book's poetic influences. Talky, jokey and carefully lineated, Kirby's vignettes unabashedly celebrate middle-class writing life, middle-aged male life and middle-to-high-brow cultural life, while simultaneously deflating all three. With titles like "Catholic Teenager from Hell Goes to Italy," "Roman Polanski's Cookies," "Excellent Women" and "Moderation Kills (Excusez-Moi, Je Suis Sick as a Dog)," Kirby's consistent speaker takes delight in a quotidian that flashes back to his southern childhood, college and grad lives, and forward to TV-watching and movie-going experiences, his university post and a sojourn in Paris with a poet-wife named Barbara. (Kirby teaches at Florida State University, reviews frequently for the TLS and NYTBR, and is married to the poet Barbara Hamby.) He is preoccupied with the sex people have, and the things they break ("Teacher of the Year") and noises they make ("Heat Lightning") in flagrante, while wishing "I could relax and just let myself go more/ and not be so, uh, obsessive about everything." Relentlessly accessible, the poems always tell a good story, whether about how friend Jock DuBois had a plan for Catholic domination of the U.S., how "Sugar" can annoyingly become "Shoog" or how to reach the dead: "Hey Dad! Over here! In France!/ No, France! Great country! Great cheese." They can be mildly entertaining, and are disarming in their lack of pretense and posturing. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
You feel at home in this book. Travel, family, school, renowned philosophers, as well as more contemporary philosophies of life all make an appearance in poems that speak to an educated American populace and to those aware of a contemporary cultural scene. Kirby lifts the heavy veil of seriousness that poetry often wears, even as he talks about death and other departures. The title poem is a prime example of this as a father's anxiety about his own mortality becomes apparent when his son go off to college. Just as we are at an archetypal death's door, icons of pop culture switch the channel on the author's meditation. As in most of these poems, we end on a happy note, mostly because Kirby digs hierarchies of ancient and modern cultures and seems to cut away a niche for the individuals who live and dream upon them. Highly recommended for high school, college, and public libraries. [Kirby is a longtime LJ reviewer.--Ed.]--Ann K. van Buren, Riverdale Country Sch., New York Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Megan Harlan
...in relating seemingly autobiographical, spryly digressive sagas about work, marriage, travel and even the joys of mediocre movies, Kirby makes the narrative poem -- a form often proclaimed to be outdated -- amusing, lively and relevant enough for contemporary tastes.
New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807126172
Publisher:
Louisiana State University Press
Publication date:
08/28/2000
Series:
Southern Messenger Poets Series
Pages:
88
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.21(d)

Meet the Author

David Kirby, the W. Guy McKenzie Professor of English at Florida State University, is the author of numerous books, including four previous poetry collections, most recently My Twentieth Century and Big-Leg Music. A regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, Christian Science Monitor, and New York Times Book Review, he has contributed poems and essays to such journals as the Kenyon Review, Southern Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Gettysburg Review and is included in Best American Poetry 2000, edited by Rita Dove. He is married to the poet Barbara Hamby and lives in Tallahassee.

David Kirby, the W. Guy McKenzie Professor of English at Florida State University, is the author of numerous books, including four previous poetry collections, most recently My Twentieth Century and Big-Leg Music. A regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, Christian Science Monitor, and New York Times Book Review, he has contributed poems and essays to such journals as the Kenyon Review, Southern Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Gettysburg Review and is included in Best American Poetry 2000, edited by Rita Dove. He is married to the poet Barbara Hamby and lives in Tallahassee.

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