The Biscuit Joint

"There's no way to define the poems of David Kirby simply, but I'll try. If you can picture an accomplished student of philosophy — a very likable guy — who wakes up one day to find himself as manic as a classic cartoon character, you have a pretty fair idea of the Kirby effect."
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"Delightful if at times maniacal and even masquerading as crass, these humorous observations from National Book Award finalist Kirby turn into tempered wisdom as quickly as the synapses firing from within his attentive and curious mind, fueling our reading until we're aflutter with anticipation of what drama is next to unfold from this dignified yet funny storyteller: 'Why, look, here's the world again! It didn't go anywhere, after all.'"
        --Best Poetry 2013, the Extended Version: We've Got 12 Top Titles for You

"You can always count on Kirby to deliver big, zany poems that'll deliver as much humor as a night of stand-up and as much warped beauty as a highway truck stop."
        --Poetry Book Roundup: 2013

"Kirby has spent four decades peeling the banana of everyday life to bite into its flesh in language that once might've been called the vernacular. In Kirby's fine-honed lines, though, the colloquial becomes expressive, pliable, and potent. Kirby's ear appreciates the casual elegance in the abbreviated, impromptu way we talk, and he polishes the seemingly mundane until his lines land with equal parts barroom brio and libretto majesty… Kirby has long threaded brows high and low into the same sentence, recognizing that it's pointless to sustain the artificial gulf between them. Besides, hot moms go to the symphony, too. For Kirby, what separates the banal from the beatific is the language we use to describe them. And with The Biscuit Joint, he pens a persuasive argument that life is essentially trivial and monumentally important simultaneously: major events and prosaic routines run together like unpunctuated sentences; they're turned into our experiences in memory's editing room."
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"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." LIBRARY JOURNAL, September 15, 2013

"A performer at heart, Kirby's gift is the free-wheeling, comic monologue. In poems of some hundred-or-so lines that are often just a couple of sentences, Kirby writes in jagged stanzas that make use of the white space for suspense and breath. He mixes references to the canon with details about life in Tallahassee. Plato, Gaugin, and Cymbeline, all make an appearance, as do an 89-cent cup of coffee, "Tutti Frutti,' and a bag of chips… Kirby [is] a poet of shared humanity. His antics on the page (in this poem it's orgies) are anything but. His poetry embraces subjects, words, and readers of all types in a blaze of ebullience and humility."
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"Kirby gets away with a kind of uncontainable positivity in these poems… 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."
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