Winner of the 2004 New Issues Poetry Prize
"Kevin Boyle's poems are ambitious in form, theme, and style, but never merely egotistical. When they are not singing with a full-throated, operatic grace, they are telling memorable stories. But more than that, they answer Milosz's primary challenge for the poetry of our era: they come off as the poetry of only one person. And they do it passionately. A Home for Wayward Girls is a book for grown-ups: charmed, elegant, learned, and wise. It does not read like a project or even faintly resemble a first book. It seems the natural outgrowth of a sensitive and intelligent life."
--Rodney Jones, Judge
"There are few poets writing today for whom the natural world and the world of the body are so powerful and real. In Kevin Boyle's poems it seems, often, that the creation not only is there, and trustworthy, and to be reckoned with, but that it wants us back, that it is taking us back into it, that the forces we call history or culture are its longest arm, that its grasp is horrific and that we call it joy. Amazing work."
"Kevin Boyle's poems are striking for their steadfast desire to soak themselves in the often inexpressible feelings and thoughts that lie at the heart of everyday life. They are alive in the way all real poetry is alive--through a finely tuned syntax that both controls and surprises. His subject matter reminds me a bit of James Wright and Richard Hugo. It wants to say what it's like to be a grown man, a moral man, in a world of choices and consequences. Like those poets, he is most interested in our lyric psychology-- 'the back story' that hums through our wiring. This work is filled with an affection and humor that are thoroughly unsentimental. These are smart, moving poems by a writer who deserves our attention."
"Kevin Boyle's poems are edgy and sometimes gritty as they cut to the bone of human experience--love, fatherhood, and work. These stunning poems offer the sweep of history as well as the inward gaze. Like many of our favorite Irish and Irish-American poets, Boyle is a great storyteller, and narratives and incidents he records in the poems are unforgettable. The beautiful surfaces of his work often serve to make the water appear safe for the reader--all the while peril reigns below."