NEA Big Read: Advice from the Lights by Stephanie Burt

May 23, 2020 - 11:00am - 12:15pm

A Discussion with Carl Bogner

Stephanie Burt, Advice from the Lights

In collaboration with Woodland Pattern Book Center

This discussion will be conducted via Zoom. It is free, but you must register to participate. Register online here. Free copies of Advice from the Lights are available for participants through Woodland Pattern Book Center. For more information about shipping and/or contactless pickup, please email Woodland Pattern’s Book Center Manager, Peter Burzynski:

Join us for a reading/discussion of Stephanie Burt's poetry collection, Advice from the Lights, part of the NEA Big Read. The discussion will be led by writer and curator Carl Bogner, of the UWM Film Department, who, for over two decades, directed Milwaukee's LGBT film festival.

Stephanie (formerly Stephen) Burt is a poet and critic whose reviews of comic books, fan fiction, science fiction, young adult novels, and, above all, poetry are widely known. Her 2013 TED talk “Why People Need Poetry” has been viewed more than a million times. Written during the “five-year period from the beginning to the end of the decisions [she’s] made about coming out as a trans woman” (Queer Guru TV), Advice from the Lights—her fourth full-length collection of poetry—is filled with talking objects and animals grappling with their unique identities: a hermit crab trying to find the right shell, a blue betta fish named Scarlet, and a roly-poly bug that doesn’t like the way it looks. Some poems imagine what her life would have been like if she had been raised a girl. They’re placed in stark contrast alongside other poems from her actual childhood raised as a boy. Burt’s collection is “deft, bubbly, poised, polished, consistently witty” (Lambda Literary), traveling “through a shape-shifting American childhood, a journey of multiple selves and genders that remixes ancient Greek poetry with ‘80s pop” (San Francisco Chronicle). “For all its insights into trans experience,” says the Boston Review, “Advice from the Lights is the brightest and most inviting of Burt’s collections for readers of any, all, and no genders.”

Read more about Stephanie Burt and Advice from the Lights at the NEA website:

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