Belmont: Poems

Book Cover for Belmont: Poems by Stephen Burt Graywolf Press, 2013 

“[Belmont] explores themes of adulthood, parenthood, and personhood with tenderness, intelligence, and wonder. . . . This collection, full of heart and humor, demonstrates Burt’s impressive range and formal deftness.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Stephen Burt has long been regarded among the most important critics now writing, but this year marks his emergence as one of his generation’s most interesting poets. . . . Mostly Belmont is a book about domestic life: fatherhood, marriage in a Boston suburb, days spent in the city—and these are some of the tenderest, most beautiful, most sympathetic poems to have been written about life with children.”—Craig Morgan Teicher,, “2013 Poetry Preview”


In Belmont, poet Stephen Burt maps out the joys and the limits of the life he has chosen, the life that chose him, examining and reimagining parenthood, marriage, adulthood, and suburbia alongside a brace of wild or pretty alternatives: the impossible life of a girl raised by cats, the disappointed lives of would-be rock stars, and the real life to which he returns, with his family, in the town that gives the book its name, driving home in an ode-worthy silver Subaru. Can a life be invented the way a poem can? What does it mean for a precocious child, or a responsible grownup, to depict the world we want? With wit, beauty, tenderness, and virtuosity, these poems define the precarious end of extended adolescence, and then ask what stands beyond.

A 2014 Massachusetts Book Awards Must-Read

San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Book of 2013

Publishers Weekly Top 10 Poetry Book of Spring 2013

“Stephen Burt’s Belmont is a celebration of the ordinary: walks in the park, breakfast cereal, the Subaru, the Swingline stapler. It’s a book about being a father in the suburbs, and thus a book about growing up, written from the perspective of someone who has and who has discovered that there is life, and happiness, to be had on the other side. . . . [A] sobering and mature collection.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Joy is new each time it happens—and it happens a lot in these poems of Stephen Burt’s Belmont. . . . This is a world in which authority figures pull strings but are mostly irrelevant: Burt dismantles all cultural, psychological and literary idée recue pertaining to childhood, identity, gender.”Los Angeles Times

“To change the ordinary live we mortals live, Stephen Burt simply dings it with his poetry/philosophy wand. . . . He shows contemporary life glittered with sould searching — the literary will solving its thourght problems.”Washington Independent Review of Books

“Stephen Burt’s virtue of clarity is reflected back to us in a number of ways: the humbling attention to craft, the amicable but rambunctious diction, and being unapologetic about subject-matter that is both public and private.”New Books In Poetry

Belmont is lyrical yet contemporary, a fascinating exploration of everyday life.”Largehearted Boy

“I expected Belmont’s craft and wit and intellect. What I did not expect was Burt’s occasionally lovely and deeply considered strangenesses: shadowy places I needed to dig at, moments in his poems when the gates surrounding more manicured language are left ajar—unfastened, beckoning. . . . The core of this book is restless; it seeks.”Open Letters Monthly

“[Burt is] a stunningly evocative writer of tender appreciation for life’s possibilities and paths. There’s an immense reservoir of wit and wonder and longing in Burt’s work, and his latest book,Belmont, fuses all sorts of styles from concrete poetry and actual rhyme schemes to prose-poems—and, sometimes, exotic cocktails of all three. . . . [An] amazing collection.”The Day

“Exuberant poems. . . . . Both intricate details and general observations exist side by side in such fresh and inviting configurations that our perceptions of the ordinary are reworked into new patterns of thought. In short, Burt teaches us to see with new eyes. His poems invite us to vacation in the world of imagination.”—Sonja James

“These poems, which are often wryly humorous, express great tenderness for American domestic life. . . . They also capture the limitations and disappointments that accompany the arrival of adulthood.”Page-Turner, the blog of the New Yorker, “Books to Watch Out For”

“Burt possesses a keenly empathetic imagination that allows him to inhabit and speak for his subjects. . . . Grounded in the physical world, the poems recognize and enshrine the wonder of consciousness itself and follow wherever it might lead.”Library Journal

“Breezily contemporary in feel, yet deeply lyrical in quality and effect. . . . Belmont is an outstanding collection at once thoughtful and witty, meditative but rapid-fire, a domestically rooted yet lyrically urbane accounting of modern life as interpreted by one of the gifted critical intellects of our time.”New York Journal of Books

“In this, his third and best book, [Burt] is moved to song by the challenges, whimsies and ecstasies of fatherhood and suburban life. These poems are all kinds of tender; they’re funny, too. Most of all, they’re made wise by a father’s careful attention to all his children know.”—NPR, Best Books of 2013

“Stunning. . . . [Burt’s] finely crafted poems offer a wonderful balance of image and abstraction. The book’s profound discussions of innocence, experience, and the role of art in mediating the two, are carefully grounded in the tangible details of everyday life.”Rumpus


New York Times Book Review

Starred Review in Publishers Weekly

2013 Poetry Preview by Craig Morgan Teicher at NPR

Los Angeles Times review by Carol Muske-Dukes

Open Letter The Rumpus


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