Reviews and Interviews

Poet Dan Burt to read at Jesup

Back to Review Summaries

Lifestyle Section - 30 December, 2016

BAR HARBOR — Poet Dan Burt will read from a selection of his work and take questions about his writing at the Jesup Memorial Library on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. The reading is the first in the inaugural Bateau/Jesup Reading Series.

Burt, who lives most of the year in London but spends considerable time at his home in Bar Harbor, said he will concentrate largely on new work but likely will include some pieces from his latest published collection, “We Look Like This” (Carcanet, 2012).

“Dan Burt is an incredible poet, and we are excited to have him here to help kick off the 2017 Bateau/Jesup reading series,” said College of the Atlantic writing Professor Dan Mahoney.

Bateau Press, a nonprofit literary press housed at the College of the Atlantic, publishes poetry chapbooks and other small literary works. Mahoney is the editor of “Bateau” poetry magazine and the instructor of a multi-term class centered on the press.

Much of Burt’s new work focuses on public topics, he said, such as the role of the Kennedy assassination in creating the present mood of the country, the resentment of Middle Eastern populations at rapid modernization in the 1970s, and the recent U.S. election.

“We are delighted to be in partnership with College of the Atlantic and Bateau in presenting this wonderful literary series,” said Jesup Library Director Ruth Eveland. “We are particularly looking forward to hosting Dan Burt again at the Jesup.”

Burt’s verses “flex muscle after muscle,” according to a review of one of his books by British Poet George Szirtes published online by The Poetry Book Society. “Burt is excellent on place and occasion,” Szirtes wrote. “The tetrametric lines bulge with energy … It is masculine writing celebrating a masculine sense of temper and purpose. The writing isn’t always as muscle-bound as this; it can hover and dance. It has genuine grace.”

Burt was born in South Philadelphia, read English at St. John’s College, Cambridge and attended Yale Law School. A lawyer and businessman, his poetry and prose have appeared in “PN Review,” “TLS,” The Financial Times, “The New Statesman,” The Sunday Times, and “Granta,” among others. Two chapbooks, “Searched for Text” (2008) and “Certain Windows” (2011) were published by Lintott/Carcanet Press, as well as a collaboration, “Cold Eye,” with artist Paul Hodgson, (Marlborough Graphics/Lintott Press, 2010). Carcanet published “We Look Like This,” a collected edition of his poetry and prose, in May 2012. Notting Hill Editions published his memoir, “You Think It Strange,” in the U.K. in 2014, and Overlook Press published a U.S. edition in 2015. He lives and writes in London, St. John’s College, Cambridge, of which he is an honorary fellow, and Schooner Head.


My heroes have always been cowboys,
and still are, it seems….
Willie Nelson

I idolized three simple men,
the seaman Holmes, the boxer Joe,
the hit-man Uncle Al, and from
their lives knocked up a creed
I lived by in the streets, a hymn
to seas’ remorseless harmonies,
rage, and cold control.

To finish me took fifteen years,
a Grand Tour through four trades,
in six cities under three flags.
I fell in with thieves: double-
dipping bureaucrats, bent lawyers,
peacock generals in a libel case.
When these acid travels ended
my saints were slag, my brows knit,
and all my hymns re-writ.