The House on Boulevard St: New and Selected Poemsby David Kirby
Pub. Date: 03/28/2007
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
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,
thebread 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.
Table of Contents
Stairway to Heaven 1
"Fair Creatures of an Hour" 7
At the Grave of Harold Goldstein 10
Twist and Shout 14
The Afterlife 19
Dear Derrida 25
The Fugawi 30
The Crab Nebula 33
The Ghost of Henry James 37
Meetings with Remarkable Men 42
Van Diemen's Land 45
Strip Poker 47
The House on Boulevard St. 50
Heat Lightning 57
Roman Polanski's Cookies 61
My Dead Dad 64
On My Mother's Blindness 67
The Search for Baby Combover 69
The Elephant of the Sea 74
A Fine Frenzy 76
Seventeen Ways from Tuesday 78
The Exorcist of Notre-Dame 81
The Desperate Hours 84
The Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart 87
Americans in Italy 89
The Laughter of Pigs 93
The Beauty Trap 95
The Hand of Fatima 99
The Winter Dance Party 104
For Men Only 111
The House of Blue Light 115
Listening to John Crowe Ransom Read His Poetry 119
I Think Satan Done It 123
I Think Stan Done It 127
Occupation: Hero 131
Everything You Do Is Wrong 135
My Brother the Jew 137
Teacher of the Year 140
Dead Girl Takes Packet Boat to Provincetown 142
Calling Robert Bly 146
Borges at the Northside Rotary 149
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