"Our skills are finally in demand.If you mock us, Pan,In whom we also believe, do itAs gently as you can." —from “The People on the Bus”In Belmont, 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 grown-up, 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.
"This is a masterly book by one of the most gifted poets of his generation."—Frank Bidart"Engaging, artful . . . Burt's wit and powers of invention are on full display."—Robert Pinsky, The Washington Post Book World"Burt is a keen collector of what he calls 'slight / things, small charms, / the jagged ones you have to learn to hear.' He can turn a night at a noisy New York club, The Bowery Ballroom, into a kaleidoscope of the senses."—John Freeman, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)“Burt, the finest critic of his generation, has struck out on his own. It is time now to celebrate Burt’s other real work.”—Lucie Brock-Broido
"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, NPR (2013 Poetry Preview)
"[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 is the author of three poetry collections and several critical books, including Close Calls with Nonsense, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He teaches at Harvard University and lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.