David Kirby

Cindy Seip

Poet, critic, and scholar David Kirby is the author of 35 books, including The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems, a National Book Award finalist. His poetry has been featured in numerous anthologies, including several volumes of The Best American Poetry, and his work displays his voracious curiosity about history, science, literature, and popular culture. Fittingly, in Help Me, Information: Poems (LSU Press), his prose moves the way the mind does on a good day, puddle-jumping from one topic to another and then coming in for a soft landing. In The Knowledge: Where Poems Come From and How to Write Them (Flip Learning), Kirby presents a lively guide to writing poetry for college students. The book is divided into four sections: “How to Write a Poem,” “How to Write a Really Good Poem,” “Immortality is Within Your Grasp,” and “You Graphomaniac, You.” They are staggered to build student confidence and skill and include works from more than 70 poets – including Franny Choi, Natalie Diaz, Emily Dickinson, Joy Harjo, Terrance Hayes, and Marilyn Nelson – to illuminate key points and stimulate reflection and writing. The Knowledge, writes Kirby, helps students craft poems the way Jimi Hendrix talked about making music: “Learn everything, forget it, and play.”