Finally, there is a book of Kirby Wright poetry—including about ten poems explicitly about Hawaii—that allows us to see his artistic embrace taking in the mainland and the islands and life itself. In more than 60 poems and prose poems, he reaches beyond the edges and prods beneath the skin of places from San Francisco to New Jersey, always demanding and discovering meaning (or expressly not).
For Maui readers, the poems set in Hawaii like “At 33,000 Feet” and “Moloka‘i Budget Vacation,” may be the most immediately accessible, but every reader should give every poem in Before the City a hearing. Although much more of the islands remains in Wright’s world view than this, it can certainly be said that his special talent for seeing and naming the essence of a place is a talent born in Hawaii, in aloha ‘aina, the love of the land in which a person has roots and hopes.
Before the City: Collected poems and Prose Poems by Kirby Wright, Lemon Shark Press, San Diego, CA, 2003. $9.95, paperback, 101 pages, ISBN 0-9741067-0-4. (This review first appeared in THE MAUI WEEKLY, August 6, 2003).Posted by Kirby at April 2, 2004 06:32 AM