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The House of Blue Light
David K. Kirby
The House of Blue Light is the second collection of autobiographical "memory poems" by Catholic-schoolboy-gone-bad-turned-poet-made-good David Kirby, a stand-up comic of verse if ever there was one: "in Stardust Memories ... these wise space aliens who visit Earth ... tell [Woody Allen] that if he really wants to serve humanity, / he should tell funnier jokes -- wait, that's my duty, / I think, that's my public duty! Because sooner or later, / we all turn upside down".Wearing both heart and wit on his sleeve, Kirby confides in longish narrative poems events he actually or vicariously experienced -- as a child, a teen, a young man, and now -- as well as some future scenes he imagines. Literary theorists Jacques Derrida and Roland Barthes; Little Richard and Muhammed Ali; Herman Melville, James Dickey, and Henry James; friends, family, personal heroes, and acquaintances, including the Ah Oui Girl of Paris and Tige Watley's Whoah of Baton Rouge, are all equally alive in Kirby's poems.

As Walt Whitman did, Kirby offers a first-person speaker as a proxy for everyone else ("Who, including ourselves, / knows what we know and when we know it?"), achieving a unity and accessible authenticity rare in poetry. A fun house, "a mishmash for sure", The House of Blue Light is a delightfully entertaining, irreverent, erudite collection of commentary piling upon commentary that brings us "that one element so largely absent / from our quotidian existence, i.e., surprise".
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