Reviewers have said this about The Temple Gate Called Beautiful:
"Here is the finest of human achievements because here we join into the great feast of sensibility, sexuality, wit, intelligence, longing, symbol, language, and the conscious shifting and weaving, the weighing and sorting, the collapsing and re-building of all that we love and enjoy. Whatever doctrines we hold, reading these poems like reading so much else, like being aware we are alive and loving it, makes us believers for the nonce: This is heaven, right here in our hands. There is such a Temple Gate called Beautiful and, poem by poem, Kirby takes us to it."
-Bob Garlitz, Stride, UK, 2008.
"It's been said that to write in a particular way argues for a certain version of reality. Kirby (The House on Boulevard St.) Has for years given us a rarefied world, one rendered through the eyes of a keen intelligence. In these poems, we traipse through a postapocalyptic world with Elvis as our guide or question the dead in all the ways we should have when they lived. Kirby's latest book holds steady with the same dry wit and fantastic themes that characterize his earlier works."
-Chris Pusateri, Library Journal, February 2008.
"The entire collection splashes like a wild ocean in a bottle with a pirate ship hurling cannonballs and sponges toward a watcher's wide and startled eyes. One minute the poet's writing home from London or visiting an Islamic shrine jammed with tourist trinkets that support terrorism through their sales; the next, he's fumbling through a conversation with his dead parents that recalls Eliot, cynical and loving in the same moment. . . .
"Indeed, read aloud, it's hard to realize that this isn't the comic monologue of a Renaissance-trained professor drenched in Monty Python reruns. But there is indeed a strong sense of form-long lines in carefully shaped stanzas-and the underlying rhythms evoke marvelous late-night conversations. Sure, one-sided ones, but with someone whose mind is so stuffed that every quip becomes a set of metaphors feeding into an Escher staircase that's headed back to the opening of the poem in spite of racing away from it.
Gosh, I had fun reading this."
-Beth Kanell, Kingdom Books, July 25, 2008.
"David Kirby is the rare poet who juxtaposes humor and satire with a serious academic and classical knowledge without pandering exclusively to one or the other. It is a balancing act that is quite successful because it appears effortless. Mr. Kirby has a niche and a style that does not vary stylistically from collection to collection, a consistency that is not a weakness but a strength. If you desired, you could group David Kirby's witty poems with the likes of Tony Hoagland, Dean Young, and Bob Hicok. Kirby is a specialist, strumming his voice, his lone unique instrument, like a speed-reading comedian who makes the reader read until they are out of breath but rarely dissatisfied. . . .
"He is a poet who peels away the layers of our skin to show us who we are: our weaknesses, our strengths, and our hilarious obsessions. In this collection, Kirby is a student of language and how we misuse it to serve our own ends. These mini-epic poems demonstrate a mastery of the turn of phrase, leading us onward toward Kirby's inevitably laugh-filled punch lines, little bits of heaven left behind for us to contemplate in the here and now."
-Micah Zevin, New Pages, August 4, 2008.