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Book Title

Close Calls with Nonsense

Reading New Poetry
Author 1
Stephen Burt
Stephen Burt's Close Calls with Nonsense provokes readers into the elliptical worlds of Rae Armantrout, Paul Muldoon, C.D. Wright, and other contemporary poets whose complexities make them challenging, original, and, finally, readable. Burt's intelligence and enthusiasm introduce both tentative and longtime poetry readers to the rewards of reading new poetry. As Burt writes in the title essay: "The poets I know don't want to be famous people half so much as they want their best poems read; I want to help you find and read them. I write here for people who want to read more new poetry but somehow never get around to it; for people who enjoy Seamus Heaney or Elizabeth Bishop and want to know what next; for people who enjoy John Ashbery or Anne Carson but aren't sure why; and, especially, for people who read the half-column poems in glossy magazines and ask, 'Is that all there is?'"

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The essays and critical writings on contemporary poetry by Stephen Burt, "the finest critic of his generation."—Lucie Brock-Broido


About the Author

Stephanie  Burt
Credit: Jessie Bennett
 Stephanie Burt is Professor of English at Harvard University and the author of several previous books of poetry and literary criticism, among them Advice from the Lights, Belmont and Close Calls with Nonsense, as well as The Poem Is You.
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  • “For newcomers, it will be a guidebook; for experienced readers, Burt offers what may be the first concentrated statement explaining how and why we, consumers and writers of contemporary poetry, read.”—Time Out New York
  • “In clear, conversational prose, Stephen Burt unties knotty contemporary poetry in Close Calls With Nonsense: Reading New Poetry, suggesting ways to read poems about ‘what matters in life.’ Burt makes you want to run out to a bookstore to get in on the excitement he conveys throughout this book.”—Entertainment Weekly
  • "[Close Calls With Nonsense] confirms Stephen Burt's reputation as the leading poetry critic of his generation. . . . [Burt] always succeeds in providing the reader with a learned, insightful and energizing blueprint for his or her own reading pleasure and surmise."—Publishers Weekly
  • "Burt is a reliable and affable guide. His writing brims with enthusiasm for—and nuanced readings of—the poetry he discusses, and his demystifing, rather than reducing, approach to this highly subjective and still strangely intimidating art form will not only expand contemporary poetry's readership, but enhance that readership's capacity to enjoy."—Boston Review
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