A Wilderness of Monkeys

"I was reading one of my many Kirby books six months ago, and laughing at his intelligent, riffing meditations on humanity when it dawned on me how consistently expansive, omniscient and compassionate his work is. "By gad," I said to myself, "David Kirby is a spiritual poet!" Not only that, he's a transcendent humanist who should be on the same shelf with Mary Oliver and Jane Hirschfield, poets who intend to loosen the muscles of the heart and cause you to look more kindly at the human world and yourself. All those years, while he was doing stand up in the Tiki Room of American poetry; Kirby was developing into a considerable poet of the large heart and a surprising spirituality."
        -- Tony Hoagland Thirteen Poets Recommend New and Recent Titles

Whenever reading David Kirby's poems, I have always thought that, when a press decides to put out a scholarly edition of his complete poems, I want the job of editing that volume since I can't imagine how much one would learn writing the footnotes for his poems, with their references to so many kinds of texts and happenings. This holds true with his latest collection, A Wilderness of Monkeys, with, for example, allusions to Ben E. King and Walter Benjamin, Shakespeare and the construction of the Eiffel Tower, Keats and Robert Louis Stevenson and E.L. Doctorow and Doc Pomus—and those all appear in just one poem, "Good Boy, Buddy Nelson," one of the collection's shorter pieces. Though this book uses the methods and techniques of juxtaposition, quotation, and humor familiar to Kirby's readers, the poems seem less narrative than his earlier work, and more about the mind revealing its own process of thinking."
        --Gary Leising, Cider Press Review See the full review

"These narrative pieces show a skilled craftsman at work… Kirby's place among an attentive poetry audience is permanent; his work is also highly recommended for even the most restless of readers, who will find these poems provide a grounded and meaningful space to visit and stay for a while."
        See the full review at http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2014/05/books/nonfic/arts-humanities/poetry-from-david-kirby-xpress-reviews/

"In long-lined swinging stanzas the narrative almost scoots past the presence of meter and line—and then, swinging back the other way, Kirby's merriment restores the form and its rhythm, with a gurgle of delight… Think it's easy to pull this off for almost 90 pages? It's not easy at all. But it's wonderful, and funny, and fun, and thoughtful. I'm so glad this book arrived in the mail. It was a great surprise."
        See the full review at http://kingdombks.blogspot.com/2014/04/diversion-poetry-by-david-kirby.html