Stephen Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor. In 2012, the New York Times called Burt “one of the most influential poetry critics of his generation.” He grew up around Washington, DC and earned a BA from Harvard and PhD from Yale. Burt has published three collections of poems: Belmont (2013), Parallel Play (2006), and Popular Music (1999).
Burt's works of criticism include Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (2009), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Art of the Sonnet—written with David Mikics (2010); The Forms of Youth: 20th-Century Poetry and Adolescence (2007); Randall Jarrell on W.H. Auden (2005), with Hannah Brooks-Motl; and Randall Jarrell and His Age (2002).
Burt has taught at Macalester College and is now Professor of English at Harvard University. He lives in the suburbs of Boston with his spouse, Jessie Bennett, and their two children.
Poems By STEPHEN BURT
Articles By STEPHEN BURT
- Advice for Teachers
Classroom tips for approaching poetry, based on what matters most to you and your students.
- Agha Shahid Ali: “Tonight”
A contemporary take on an ancient Arabic form.
- Alexander Pope: “Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot”
Did the poems of this 18th century poet prefigure modern hip-hop rivalries?
- And the Winner Is . . . Pindar!
Can any modern poet beat the world record Pindar set 25 centuries ago?
- Art vs. Laundry
Is there more to life than poetry?
- “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's (mis)reading of Tennyson is awash in dramatic irony.
- Does Poetry Have a Social Function?
- Donald Revell: “The Northeast Corridor”
Chronicle of a poet's rebirth in his Rust Belt poems.
- Elizabeth Alexander: “Race”
What can we assume when we read a poem?
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “Sonnets from the Portuguese 28”
A secret romance made (almost) public.
- John Clare: “To John Clare”
A Romantic poet imagines a better life, where he never grew up.
- John Donne: “The Sun Rising”
The poet tries to start a revolution from his bed.
- John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester: “Upon Nothing”
What Jerry Seinfeld and a 17th century libertine have in common.
- Juan Felipe Herrera: “Blood on the Wheel”
Tracing the many conflicting meanings of the word "blood"
- Naive Melody
The vast diction—and dibbles and blips—of A.R. Ammons.
- Poetry and Project Runway
Should book critics take their cues from Tim Gunn?
- Rae Armantrout: “Our Nature”
How did you become who you are?
- Snow Days
From flurries to relentless storms, why snow makes American poetry American.
- W.S. Merwin: “Berryman”
A poet revisits his legendary teacher’s advice.
- William Carlos Williams: “To a Poor Old Woman”
A poem from the Great Depression reveals the egalitarian nature of pleasure—and the formal innovation of a modernist master.
Blog Posts By STEPHEN BURT
- on finding one's alter ego and on running out of time
- it's not easy being news
- on villanelles, or, many happy returns
- on spontaneity
- All the fun's in how you say a thing
More blog posts by Stephen Burt (73 posts)
- Hi, Howard, I'm back
- names against the land
- Once More into the Steel Cage
- National Poetry Month cancelled
- Pandora's gift (2)
- Pandora's gift (1)
- when you've got trouble
- speed chess
- Bishop revisited
- Cooper writes a poem
- it's too much
- don't call it classical
- cooper cento
- baby radio
- the litmag whirl
- a cheerful hour, refrains
- te whiori o te kuri: james k. baxter redux
- surveying the territory
- domestic and foreign
- ode-y & emo
- hallo out there
- all-name team
- more scots, less porn
- rounding up and rounding off
- trying to make a big fat sound
- these are the books I was looking for
- these aren't the books you're looking for (part two)
- these aren't the books you're looking for (part one)
- a nocturnal
- visual Romani poetry 01
- enormous snowstorms at the last minute
- sonnets, busyness, influence, and macaronics (not in that order)
- elizabeth hardwick 1916-2007
- noble numbers... and mean girls
- noble numbers
- every poem wants something
- the kids want more poems!
- prosopagnosic poetics, or facing up to oneself
- are you getting enough SLOIP?
- cyberpunk poetry found! plus a mezze tray
- frostiness; veterans
- the vispo challenge
- red cherry, st lucia, straylight
- chuvash neofuturism, or, blogging the msa, part 3
- the map that hangs by me (or, thomas hardy, or, blogging the MSA, part two)
- at last the secret is out
- stick out your tongue
- on connotation
- am I an americanist?
- a round O says I feel
- libraries (with a thoughtful sigh)
- like winter
- naive advice for paisley rekdal
- small, busy flames
- anagrams in america
- J'aime le "peer pressure"
- remarkable newness
- too much like cooking?
- A mess of errors
- no telling
- culture and society
- and the pleiades
- a world of words to the end of it
- lyric irony
Audio & PodcastsPoetry Off the Shelf
Alexander Pope as Home Boy
Stephen Burt on the qualities shared by hip-hop and 18th century verse.