Stephen Burt

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Stephen Burt is a literary critic, poet and a professor, who teaches at Harvard University. The New York Times has called him "one of the most influential poetry critics of his generation."

Burt received significant attention for coining the term "elliptical poetry" in a 1998 book review of Susan Wheeler's book Smokes in Boston Review magazine.

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Best Poem of Stephen Burt


Things you know but can't say,
the sort of things, or propositions
that build up week after week at the end of the day,

& have to be dredged
by the practical operators so that their grosser cargo
& barges & boxy schedules can stay.

The great shovels and beaks and the rolling gantries
of Long Beach, and of Elizabeth, New Jersey,
can keep their high and rigorous distinction
between on-time and late, between work and play.

"Since you excluded me, I will represent you,
not meanly but generously, with an attention
that is itself

a revenge,...

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