Popular Music (Colorado Prize for Poetry)
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"In this beautiful debut volume, Stephen Burt, in poetic actions that range with unusual ease from prose to sonnets and free verse, explores the sensation of selfhood as it presents itself, in all its fractured pans, for reformation. His speaker moves from the longing to 'be someone else' -- to rid himself of every version of his own shadow -- through a multitude of sensations covered by the notion of 'blasphemy' of soul, where words themselves are a source of anxiety, to slow accommodation (especially powerfully rendered as a capacity for dream and the knowledge dream-logic allows) with the Kafkaesque free-form guilt of personhood. Passionate and deeply accomplished, this is most truly elegant and honest work."
"In poems that are personal in their distrust of constructions of gendered self, dazzling in their speed of association, and masterful in their orchestration of an insistently ebullient music, Stephen Butt pulls the cork from a new century. Burt's spicy, heuristic mix of high-literary and sub-pop culture requires a new reader. My dear, it is you."
University Press of Colorado, 9780870815553, 96pp.
Publication Date: September 15, 1999
About the Author
Stephen Burt grew up in Washington, D.C., and is a graduate student at Yale University. He reviews poetry regularly for the Boston Review, and the Times Literary Supplement. His poems have appeared in Colorado Review, the PN Review, AGNI, and other journals. He lives in New York City.