The new poetry collection by Stephen Burt, “one of the most gifted poets of his generation” (Frank Bidart)*An NPR Best Book of 2013 * A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Poetry Book of Spring 2013 *
Our skills are finally in demand.
If you mock us, Pan,
In whom we also believe, do it
As 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.