Steph Burt

discusses

The Poem Is You:
60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them

in conversation with CHLOE GARCIA ROBERTS

Please note updated start time

This event includes a book signing

Date

Apr
3
Monday
April 3, 2017
7:30 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Update: Please note the updated start time of 7:30pm for this event.

Harvard Book Store welcomes poet, critic, and Harvard Professor of English STEPH BURT and author and Harvard Review managing editor CHLOE GARCIA ROBERTS for a discussion of about contemporary poetry in America, as well as Burt's latest book, The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them. 

About The Poem Is You

Contemporary American poetry has plenty to offer new readers, and plenty more for those who already follow it. Yet its difficulty―and sheer variety―leaves many readers puzzled or overwhelmed. The critic, scholar, and poet Stephen Burt sets out to help. Beginning in the early 1980s, where critical consensus ends, Burt canvasses American poetry of the past four decades, from the headline-making urgency of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen to the stark pathos of Louise Glück, the limitless energy of Juan Felipe Herrera, and the erotic provocations of D. A. Powell.

The Poem Is You: Sixty Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them is a guide to the diverse magnificences of American poetry today. It presents a wide range of poems selected by Burt for this volume, each accompanied by an original essay explaining how a given poem works, why it matters, and how the poem speaks to other parts of art and culture. Included here are some classroom classics (by Ashbery, Komunyakaa, Hass), less famous poems by very famous poets (Glück, Kay Ryan), and poems by prizewinning poets near the start of their careers (such as Brandon Som), and by others who are not―or not yet―well known.

The Poem Is You will appeal to poets, teachers, and students, but it is intended especially for readers who want to learn more about contemporary American poetry but who have not known where or how to start. It describes what American poets have fashioned for one another, and what they can give us today.

Praise

"Poet and critic Burt’s ambitious anthology of recent poems by American authors, from 1981 to 2015, creates a coherent body of work out of the vast landscape of recent American poetry. Burt’s 60 selections are eclectic, mingling instantly recognizable names (John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich) with newer talents (Lucia Perillo, Claudia Rankine). . . . Burt’s many ways of looking at a poem will inspire new students and accomplished poets, especially as many of his meditations circle the question of what poetry does, or should do: making readers pay attention, ask questions, and experience new things. Burt’s formidable breadth of knowledge about the practice of poetry, from Virgil up to 2015, allows him to make nimble connections among authors and establish an ars poetica for current American lyric poetry, an impressive feat given the diverse selection just within this book." —Publishers Weekly

Chloe Garcia Roberts
Chloe Garcia Roberts

Chloe Garcia Roberts

Chloe Garcia Roberts is the author of The Reveal and the translator of Li Shangyin’s Derangements of My Contemporaries: Miscellaneous Notes, which was awarded a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. Her work has appeared in the publications BOMB, Boston Review, A Public Space, and Interim Magazine among others. Forthcoming translations include a collected poetry of Li Shangyin and a children's book, Feather, by Cao Wenxuan. She is managing editor at the Harvard Review and contributing editor for The Critical Flame.

Photo credit: Stephanie Mitchell

Steph Burt
Steph Burt

Steph Burt

Steph Burt is a poet, critic, and Professor of English at Harvard University. Burt has authored three collections of poetry and numerous works of criticism, including The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them and Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry—a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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