Stephen Burt

Stephen Burt is a literary critic, poet and a professor, who teaches at Harvard University . The New York Times has called him “one of the Most Influential poetry critics of his generation.” [1]

Literary-critical work: new categories of contemporary poetry

Elliptical poetry

Burt RECEIVED significant attention for coining the term ” Elliptical poetry ” in a 1998 book review or Susan Wheeler’s book Smokes in Boston Review magazine. This is how Burt defines the Elliptical poet:

Elliptical polish try to manifest a person-who speaks the poem and REFLECTS the poet-while using all the verbal Gizmos developed over the last few decades to undermine the coherence or speaking selves. Way Down are post-avant-gardist, or post “postmodern” ze port read (most of Them) Stein’s Heirs, and the “language writers,” and port Chosen to do otherwise. Elliptical poems shift drastically tussen low (or slangy) and high (or naively “poetic”) diction. Some are lists or phrases beginning “I am an X, I am a Y.” Ellipticism’s favorite Agent polishes are Dickinson , Berryman , Ashbery , and / or Auden . . .The Polish representing almost stories, or almost-obscured ones. Way Down are sardonic, angered, defensively s difficult, or desperate; ze because to entertain as GRONDIG as, but not to resemble, television. [2]

Burt ook dat adds Elliptical polishes are “good at Describing information overload.” [3] In addition under to calling the subject of Burt’s review, Susan Wheeler , an important Elliptical poet, Burt ook lists Liam Rector’s The Sorrow of Architecture (1984), Lucie Brock-Broido’s The Master Letters (1995), Mark Ford’s Landlocked (1992 ), and Mark Levine’s debut, Debt (1993) as “some Groundbreaking and definitively Elliptical books.” [4]

The New Thing

In 2009, Burt wrote an essay called “The New Things” have in welke invented a new category of American contemporary poets, welke he calls “The New Thing.” Burt wordt uitgelegd dat deze polish Derive hun new styles from the likes of William Carlos Williams , Robert Creeley , Gertrude Stein and George Oppen . This is how Burt Loosely defines “The New Thing” prank:

The polish of the New Thing observe scenes and people (not only, but ook, themselves) with a self-subordinating concision, so much so dat de term “minimalism” comes up in discussions hun work. . .The Polish of the New Thing eschew sarcasm and tread lightly with irony, and als ze seem hard to pin down, it is Because they ‘leave space for Interpretations to fit. . .The New poetry, the new thing, seeks, as Williams did, well-made, attentive, unornamented things. It is equally at home (if he was) in portraits and still lifes, in epigram and quoted speech; and it is at home (if he was not) in articulating sometimes harsh judgments, and in casting backward looks. The new polish Pursue compression, compact description, humility, restricted diction, and-on Despite hun frequently skepticism fidelity to a material and social world. Ze follow Williams’s “demand,” as the critic Douglas Mao put it, “zowel dat poetry be faithful to the thing represented and therein it be a thing in Itself.” They are so bound up with ideas or durable thing Hood dat we kunnen particular the tendens simply by capitalizing: the New Thing. . . Reference, BREVITY, self-restraint, attention outside the self, material objects as models, Williams and his Heirs than predecessors, classical lyric and epigram as Precedents: all synthesis, together, Constitute the New Thing. [5]

Poets for Whom Burt claims that ‘The New Thing “label fits include Rae Armantrout , Michael O’Brien , Justin Marks , Elizabeth Treadwell , and Graham Foust . [6]


In addition under to his notable essays for the Boston Review, Burt has ook written for The New York Times Book Review , Poetry Review , Slate , The Times Literary Supplement , the London Review of Books , and The Yale Review .

He has a significant interest in the work of the poet / critic Randall Jarrell , and Burt’s book Randall Jarrell and His Age re-assessments Jarrell’s belang as a poet. The book was awarded the Warren-Brooks Award in 2002. In the explanatory aim of his book, Burt wrote, “Many readers know Jarrell as the author or verschillende anthology poems (for example,” The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner “), a charming book or two for children, and a panoply of Influential reviews. This book AIMS to Illuminate a Jarrell more ambitious, more complex and more important dan dat. ” [7] In 2005, he’ll be edited a book of Jarrell’s critical essays, Randall Jarrell on WH Auden .

In addition under to writing books about poets and poetry, Burt has published three books of his own poetry, Popular Music (1999), welke won the Colorado Prize for Poetry, Parallel Play (2006) and Belmont (2013).

On occasion, he has leg Berninahaus to write for a popular audience on Slate and The New Yorker , zoals an article about X-Men: Days of Future Past in the voice of Kitty Pryde . [8]

Academic career

Burt earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his Ph.D. from Yale in 2000 voordat joining the faculty at Macalester College , his first academic post, from 2000 to 2007. In 2007, he joined the teaching staff at Harvard University, where he became a tenured professor in 2010.


This list is incomplete ; u can help with Expansion it .



  • Burt, Stephen (1999). Popular music . Fort Collins: Center for Literary Publishing / University Press of Colorado.
  • Parallel Play ( Gray Wolf Press , 2006)
  • Burt, Stephen. Belmont .

List of poems

title Year First published Reprinted / Collected
Hermit crab 2013 Burt, Stephen (August 5, 2013). “Hermit Crab” . The New Yorker . 89 (23): 28.

Literary criticism

  • Randall Jarrell and His Age ( Columbia University Press , 2002)
  • Randall Jarrell on WH Auden ( Columbia University Press , 2005)
  • The Forms of Youth: Twentieth Century Poetry and Adolescence ( Columbia University Press , 2007)
  • Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry ( Gray Wolf Press , 2009)
  • The Art of the Sonnet (with David Mikics ) ( Harvard University Press , 2010)
  • Burt, Stephen (Mar-Apr 2013). “Chris Van Hollen.” The Believer . 11 (3): 44-45.


  1. Jump up^ Oppenheimer, Mark. “Poetry’s Cross-Dressing Kingmaker.” The New York Times Magazine. 14 September 2012.
  2. Jump up^ Stephen Burt’s Review of Smokes by Susan Wheeler
  3. Jump up^ Stephen Burt’s Review of Smokes by Susan Wheeler
  4. Jump up^ Stephen Burt’s Review of Smokes by Susan Wheeler
  5. Jump up^ Burt, Stephen. “The New Thing.” Boston Review. May / June 2009.
  6. Jump up^ Burt, Stephen. “The New Thing.” Boston Review. May / June 2009.
  7. Jump up^ Burt, Stephen. Randall Jarrell and His Age. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.
  8. Jump up^ Is Wolverine Doing All The Stuff I Already Did?