Stephanie Burt

Stephanie Burt is a poet and professor of English literature at Harvard. She is the author of Randall Jarrell and His Age, The Art of the Sonnet and After Callimachus, a selection of translations, some of which were first published in the LRB. Advice from the Lights, a collection of poems, came out in 2017.

Poem: ‘Horse Chestnuts’

Stephanie Burt, 5 October 2023

Because each year of your life amounts         to less of your lifethan the year before, the things in it change you less.

Horse chestnuts, for example,         beside you in the almost-ready-for-morning frosted grass

as you walk to your car, or         one horse chestnut in particular,its dry spiked ball on a flail

On Brandon Som

Stephanie Burt, 1 June 2023

Brandon Som​ was raised in Phoenix, Arizona, the son of a Chinese American father and a Mexican American mother. His grandfather’s arduous journey from Asia to the US, his grandmother’s time in a microchip factory on the border, his relatives’ work in barbers’, butchers’ and corner shops could form the basis of a memoir, autobiographical novel or case study in...

On Natalie Shapero

Stephanie Burt, 8 September 2022

How often​ has a book of poetry scared you? Natalie Shapero’s third collection, Popular Longing (Copper Canyon, £12.99), with its barbs and quips and dry double meanings, suggests that life, at least in Western civilisation, is not worth living. In ‘And Stay Out’, the idea that ‘slaughter has coarsened the population’ becomes all too plausible:

the only ones...

Diary: D&D

Stephanie Burt, 9 June 2022

Dungeons & Dragons​, the fantasy role-playing game that filled the afternoons of geeky teenagers throughout the 1980s, is still going strong. CNBC reported that D&D ‘had its biggest year ever’ in 2020, with sales of books and other game material growing by 33 per cent – a way of surviving lockdown? The company that publishes the books, Wizards of the Coast, claims...

Two Poems

Stephanie Burt, 12 May 2022

Potomac River, 1982

where I grew upit was all wonderful anddefensive

the adults were kindand never neglectfulbringing fresh water and

grapes oranges and juiceand sunscreen always askingeach kid what we would

need or might need in theanticipated future with itsgoldenrod-bordered

cleared fieldits soft blacktopits estimated yield

we were told to look upwith reason to keeplooking forward

to a cloudless...

Toolkit for Tinkerers: The Sonnet

Colin Burrow, 24 June 2010

Sonnets have no rival. They’ve been written about kingfishers, love, squirrels, the moon (too often), God, despair, more love, grief, exultation, time, decay, church bells beyond the stars...

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