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David Kirby has received many honors for his work, including the Brittingham Prize in Poetry and citations in Best American Poetry 2000 and 2001, and Pushcart Prize XXV. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Florida Arts Council. Kirby is the author or co-author of twenty-two books, including the poetry collections The Ha-HaThe House of Blue Light, and The Traveling Library in addition to a collection of essays, What Is a Book? His most recent volume, The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems, is shortlisted for the National Book Award. His verse has appeared in such publications as the Kenyon ReviewSouthern Review, and Ploughshares. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, Kirby also writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kirby received his bachelor’s degree in English from Louisiana State University and his doctoral degree in English from Johns Hopkins University in 1969. He is Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, where he has taught since 1969 and lives in Tallahassee.

See also: Griffin Trustee Robin Robertson, Griffin Poetry Prize 2004 shortlisted poets Leslie Greentree and David Kirby, and Griffin Poetry Prize 2003 shortlisted poet Gerald Stern were joined by the 2005 Canadian and International winners Roo Borson and Charles Simic on a triumphal tour to the Dublin Writers Festival in June, 2005. Leslie, David and Roo kept a lively blog of the trip, which you can read here.

The Ha Ha

LSU Press
2004 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

David Kirby’s illusionistic poetics are like a ha-ha, – which is not a joke but a landscape trick – used to keep cows at a picturesque distance from the manor house.

David Kirby’s illusionistic poetics are like a ha-ha, – which is not a joke but a landscape trick – used to keep cows at a picturesque distance from the manor house. The formal appearance of this poet’s stanzaic patterns – so chaste and well-behaved and structurally deft – support the genial but disruptive spirit of these narrative performances. Talk, talk, talk about travel, food, more food, art, architecture, Barbara, more Barbara, mother, nuns, Rotarians, Americans, more Americans, etc., little operas with recitative. The Ha-Ha is funny and sad, colloquial and learned, and full of wry self-observation and social profundities. The poems are accompanied here and there by photographs of a large cow who is not laughing.