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Book Title

We Are Mermaids

Author 1
Stephanie Burt
Poem Excerpt
You don’t have to be use-
ful. You are not required
to come up with something to say.
You can spend your life benthic, or brackish,
subsisting and even thriving where a fingertip
comes away saline and still refreshing,
exploring the estuary, the submerged lip
and congeries of overlapping shores
on the green-black water, the harbor, the bay.
You can live with your doubt,
that’s why it’s yours.
Stephanie Burt’s poems in We Are Mermaids are never just one thing. Instead, they revel in their multiplicity, their interconnectedness, their secret powers to become much more than they at first seem. In these poems, punctuation marks make arguments for their utility and their rights to exist. Frozen isn’t simply another Disney animated musical but “the Most Trans Movie Ever.” Mermaids, werewolves, and superheroes don’t just fret over divided natures and secret identities, but celebrate their wholeness, their unique abilities, and their erotic potential. Flowers in this collection bloom into exactly what they are meant to be—revealing themselves, like bleeding hearts, beyond their given names.

With humor and insight, Burt’s poems have always cherished and examined the things of this world, both real and imagined objects of fascination and desire. In this resplendent new collection, her observation and care flourish into her most fulfilled book yet. These poems shake off indecisiveness and doubt to reach joys through romance and family, through nature (urban and otherwise), and through imaginative community. We Are Mermaids is a trans book, a fangirl book, a book about coming together. It’s also Burt’s best book.

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6.5 x 9
Effusive new poems by Stephanie Burt, “perhaps our greatest poet of having yet more to say” (Boston Review)

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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  • “In poems rich and strange, Stephanie Burt offers us all possible incarnations—what we were, what we weren’t, what we might have been, what we may yet be—while honoring what each sacred individual life has always been. . . .This is a poet of dazzling skill, mystical vision, wild imagination, sensual intuition.”—Laura Kasischke
  • “Stephanie Burt's poems are everything at once: thrilling, ferociously charming, effervescently specific about enormous emotions and nerdy passions, as dazzling and illuminating as a photon blast.”—Douglas Wolk, author of All of the Marvels
  • “Stephanie Burt delivers her most intimate and masterful work to date in We Are Mermaids, a glorious ode to personal dawnings and breaking through the binary to honor our most authentic selves, no matter the struggle to get there, like fish out of water who always knew they belonged to both the water and the air.”—Amber Tamblyn
  • “Burt’s imagination is rendered in mellifluous, energetic language in this memorable book.”—Publishers Weekly 
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