Don’t Read Poetry: A Book About How to Read Poems

Stephanie Burt
Published in 2019
by Basic Books

Award-winning poet and critic Stephanie Burt, who was the subject of a 2016 installment of Reviewers & Critics by Michael Taeckens, offers an accessible introduction to reading, understanding, and appreciating poetry, from Shakespeare’s sonnets to “non-book forms of poetry” shared via social media. “Don’t Read Poetry is for readers hunting sharp, nimble thinking about culture, comprehension, and poems,” writes National Book Award–winning poet Terrance Hayes. “Whether discussing an ancestral Hawai’ian language, a canonical poet like Langston Hughes, or contemporary poets like Rodrigo Toscano and Jennifer Chang, Stephanie Burt manages to illuminate ‘the difficult process of turning paired marks into words.’ Don’t read poetry, she suggests, read poems.”