Stephen is sometimes Stephanie and sometimes wonders how his past and her past are their own collective memory.
Advice from the Lights is a brilliant and candid exploration of gender and identity and a series of looks at a formative past. It's part nostalgia, part confusion, and part an ongoing wondering: How do any of us achieve adulthood? And why would we want to, if we had the choice? This collection is woven from and interrupted by extraordinary sequences, including Stephanie poems about Stephen's female self; poems on particular years of the poet's early life, each with its own memories, desires, insecurities, and pop songs; and versions of poems by the Greek poet Callimachus, whose present-day incarnation worries (who doesn't?) about mortality, the favor of the gods, and the career of Taylor Swift. The collection also includes poems on politics, location, and parenthood. Taken all together, this is Stephen Burt's most personal and most accomplished collection, an essential work that asks who we are, how we become ourselves, and why we make art.
Stephanie Burt is Professor of English at Harvard and the author of several previous books of poetry and literary criticism, among them Belmont and Close Calls with Nonsense, as well as The Poem Is You.
Laura Kasischke's long-awaited selected poems presents the breadth of her probing vision that subverts the so-called "normal." A lover of fairy tales, Kasischke showcases her command of the symbolic, with a keen attention to sound in her exploration of the everyday--whether reflections on loss or the complicated realities of childhood and family. As literary critic Stephen Burt wrote in Boston Review, "The future will not see us by one poet alone....If there is any justice in that future, Kasischke is one of the poets it will choose."
This incandescent volume makes the case that Laura Kasischke is one of America's great poets, and her presence is secure.
Laura Kasischke is a poet and novelist whose fiction has been made into several feature-length films. Her book of poems, Space, in Chains, won the National Book Critics Circle Award. She currently teaches at the University of Michigan and lives in Chelsea, Michigan.