Synopses & Reviews
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. 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.
This collection contains new poetry alongside some of David Kirby's most beloved poems. Most of the poems are long narratives written in prose form, and all of the poems are marked by fixed-length stanzas and sawtooth margins. Kirby's writing is often touching and always laugh-out-loud funny. Inspiration for these poems came from the literary giants William Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri, and Walt Whitman. In fact, Kirby has chosen to organize these poems into three sections echoing Dante's organization of The Divine Comedy. The writing is largely autobiographical and deals with the restlessness of youth, the mixed blessings of imposed self-exile, and the settled pleasure of home.