FSC’s Lawton M. Chiles Center for Florida History and the School of Arts and Sciences Welcome Poet Dr. David Kirby
LAKELAND, Fla. (November 11, 2011) — Florida Southern College’s Lawton M. Chiles Jr. Center for Florida History is proud to welcome Dr. David Kirby, the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, as a special event partnered with the FSC School of Arts and Sciences and the Humanities Division on November 18th, 2011. Dr. Kirby will read his poetry in Danforth Chapel at 4:30 p.m. on the Florida Southern Campus in Lakeland. The event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Kirby has received numerous honors for his work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and his work appears frequently in the Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize volumes. Kirby is the author of numerous books, including The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems, which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award in poetry. His Little Richard: The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll was named one of Booklist's Top 10 Black History Non-Fiction Books of 2010, and the Times Literary Supplement called it "a hymn of praise to the emancipatory power of nonsense." Kirby's latest poetry collection is Talking About Movies With Jesus. In addition to his poetic work, Kirby is also a renowned literary critic. Kirby’s critical reviews and essays frequently crop up in the Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Southern Review and the national literary magazine, Triquarterly. He also has written books of scholarly criticism on Mark Strand, Herman Melville, Henry James and Grace King.
Edward Hirsch, president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, called Kirby “one of the top poet-critics working in the United States today,” praising his “literary range, his quintessentially American open-mindedness, and his humane sensibility.” Billy Collins, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, referred to Kirby as “one of the most engaging and original voices on the American poetry scene today…I could recognize a Kirby poem on the page across a room, just as I could recognize one of Emily Dickinson’s.”
Dr. Kirby has been a professor at FSU since 1969, and has worked with thousands of graduate and undergraduate poetry students. A Louisiana native, he earned his doctorate at Johns Hopkins and joined the faculty of FSU soon thereafter. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, the poet Barbara Hamby, a writer-in-residence at FSU.