Parallel Play (Paperback)
Graywolf Press, 9781555974374, 80pp.
Publication Date: January 24, 2006
The eagerly anticipated second collection by poet and esteemed critic Stephen Burt
Flaunting your useless knowledge has failed you again,
Though it was all they had taught you.
—from "Like a Wreck"
Consult any childhood development guide and you'll find the term "parallel play": when children under two are placed together, they'll play separately but won't interact. They are more fascinated with their immediate surroundings than with each other.
Stephen Burt's second collection of poems, Parallel Play, describes lovers, friends, travelers, and revelers attempting lives dependent on each other but still pulled inevitably into preoccupations of their own self-awareness. When there are many obstacles—overeducation, narcissism, extended adolescence, nomadic existence—how can Americans crawl out of the nursery and coexist if they increasingly have to learn to do so as adults?
About the Author
Stephen Burt is the author of a previous poetry collection, Popular Music, and
a work of literary criticism, Randall Jarrell and His Age. He currently teaches at Macalester College and lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.