Reviewers have said this about The House of Blue Light:
"The loquacious style of David Kirby's poetry can sometimes resemble the riffs of a brainy stand-up comedian... Kirby's structure--stanzas of long, alternatingly indented lines that easily accommodate the cadences of conversation-contributes to the sense of a casual artistry at work. Yet in relating seemingly autobiographical, spryly digressive sagas about work, marriage, travel and even the joys of mediocre movies, Kirby makes the narrative poem--a form often proclaimed to be outdated--amusing, lively and relevant enough for contemporary tastes."
- The New York Times, November 12, 2000
"You feel at home in this book. Travel, family, school, renowned philosophers, as well as more contemporary philosophies of life all make an appearance in poems that speak to an educated American populace and to those aware of a contemporary cultural scene... As in most of those poems, we end on a happy note, mostly because Kirby digs hierarchies of ancient and modern cultures and seems to cut away a niche for the individuals who live and dream upon them. Highly recommended for high school, college, and public libraries."
- Library Journal, September 1, 2000
"The quadrumvirate of men--Stephen Dunn, Tony Hoagland, Billy Collins, and Albert Goldbarth--who provide blurbs for Kirby's fifth collection, read like a who's who of the book's poetic influences. Talky, jokey, and carefully lineated, Kirby's vignettes unabashedly celebrate middle-class writing life, middle-aged male life and middle-to-highbrow cultural life, while simultaneously deflating all three... Relentlessly accessible, the poems always tell a good story, whether about how friend Jock DuBois had a plan for Catholic domination of the U. S., how 'Sugar' can annoyingly become 'Shoog' or how to reach the dead: 'Hey, Dad! Over here! In France! / No, France! Great country! Great cheese.'"
- Publishers Weekly, October 30, 2000
"The dominant motif in these brilliantly prattling poems is [Kirby's] own bozohood, from the hot summer night on which he, eight and innocent, asked his mother 'Want to play strip poker?' to the afternoon in a Paris restaurant when he started crying because an older man there so resembled his dead father... He seems intent on establishing that the poet can be a regular guy who reads Cline when in France yet believes that 'America singing... sounds like Little Richard.' All the while, he is a spieling genius of the compound sentence and laugh-aloud funny."
- Booklist, September 1, 2000 (starred review)
"A collection of poems by a poet who celebrates his own entertaining 'bozohood' that goes hand in glove with his respectability as a college professor. So which is the real Kirby? Both, and he writes as a stand-up comic poet who also knows when not to laugh."
- Jacksonville [Florida] Times-Union, October 8, 2000