Sunday, December 2, 2007

David Kirby

David Kirby is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University.

His recent books include The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems (LSU Press) and an essay collection entitled Ultra-Talk: Johnny Cash, The Mafia, Shakespeare, Drum Music, St. Teresa Of Avila, And 17 Other Colossal Topics Of Conversation (University of Georgia Press).

Late last month I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
Right now I'm doing my best to postpone my reading of Norman Rush's Mating, a novel so juicily good that I can't stand to think about it ending.

I had great luck with my American history picks earlier this year, especially James L. Swanson's Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer and Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower, so I'm about to start Woody Holton's Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution.

For poetry, I have a big crush on the thoughtful, witty, well-crafted poems in J. Allyn Rosser's Foiled Again.

I got stuck in a small airport recently and bought Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer, and whereas I start mysteries this way once or twice a year and almost never finish them, I can't wait to find out how this one turns out; besides, a chapter of Connelly every night makes it easier for me to postpone the end of Mating.

I'm teaching an honors seminar on Emerson and Poe in the spring and can't wait to read everything by those two inventors of America's bipolar outlook.

Finally, I just signed a contract to write a book called Little Richard: The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll, and on a project like this, all kinds of topics make themselves at home -- music, sure, but also race, class, history, folklore, capitalism, technology, etc... So you Writers Read readers out there, send me your recommendations, and I'll be sure to mention you in my book on the Georgia Peach!
Visit David Kirby's website. He is the author of over twenty books, including the poetry collections The Ha-Ha and The House of Blue Light. His poems have been published in Best American Poetry 2000 and 2001 and in Pushcart Prize XXV. He is a recipient of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and a Guggenheim fellowship among other honors.

The House on Boulevard St. was a 2007 National Book Award Poetry Finalist. Learn more about the book, and read Craig Morgan Teicher's interview with Kirby.

--Marshal Zeringue