August 11, 2021
Blurb: Help Me, Information is propelled by the speed and motion of the poems that define earlier acclaimed books by David Kirby, poems that move the way the mind does on a good day, puddle-jumping from one topic to another and then coming in for a nice soft landing.
Colloquial in tone, balancing narrative breadth with precise detail, Kirby’s poetry displays his voracious curiosity about history, science, literature, and popular culture. Yet here he also reinvents himself with poems that recall the compactness of Jack Gilbert, the sweep of Allen Ginsberg, and the introspection of Frank O’Hara.
Help Me, Information presents a fresh Kirby, familiar yet new.
In a post on Sunday, I called my finding Help Me, Information by David Kirby to be serendipity because I am not sure that there is another current book of poems around–not dealing directly with nature–that I would adore as much as I did this one. (I am always happy to be wrong so if you can suggest one, please do!)
Although he is a new to me poet, David Kirby has been writing poetry for a long time. I don’t know if Help Me, Information is his typical style, but the blurb suggests not. Regardless, I became quite fond of this style.
While I like to write poetry, I don’t often write reviews of poetry books so forgive any blundering around on my part.
Most of the poems struck me a conversational with almost a stream-of-consciousness about them, moving through thoughts and then going full-circle to the original idea. They felt “easy,” which made me realize how talented Kirby must be to make these poems seem effortless.
As the title suggests, he frequently weaves music lyrics and musicians into the poems, conversation and insight, and bits that he’s read. His wry wit comes through. I was chuckling at some of his phrases and then immediately there would be that “aha” moment that would sideswipe me. Or an entire poem that grasps your heart and squeezes followed by one that is called, “Ode to My Skinny Legs” in which his sense of humor shines through:
(this excerpt from “Ode to My Skinny Legs” is not formatted as it is in the book except for line breaks).
Nobody has skinnier legs than I do. TheyOde to My Skinny Legs, David Kirby
resemble nothing more
than “two rat tails hanging out of a
cracker box,” to use my high
school football coach’s accurate if less than
description of my nether appendages.
They’re not my legs
anyway, since I got them from my dad
And, yes, so many poems include music references that I think Kirby must love music as much as I do.
So, serendipity, yes. I loved reading these poems.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
5 out of 5 butterflies