Stephanie Burt

  • City on Fire

    HOW SPECIAL is New York City? Is it the greatest, most exciting, most alive-seeming city on the North American continent? If you think so, would you say as much to people who live in Los Angeles, or Montreal? Would you build a large-scale, world-shaping fantasy series around the idea? 

    N. K. Jemisin did. Her ambitious, historically conscious, almost perfectly executed Broken Earth trilogy (2015–17) won a stack of awards, including three fan-voted Hugos in a row (the first author to accomplish that hat trick). Its thousand-plus pages incorporated mutant superpowers, geological upheavals, devices

  • No Rec Room of Her Own

    The chaotic, exuberant, vexatious poems of Rachel Zucker’s Museum of Accidents (2009) exhibited the distractions, depletions, and exhilarations of a modern urban motherhood: Some sounded as if Zucker had composed them while shepherding her toddler through the subway, others as if she had made them up at the conclusion of a sleep-deprived night. It was an uncommonly honest, almost embarrassing poetry, one that seemed artless if you read it too fast, and yet one achingly aware of precedents: Zucker called one long poem “Hey Allen Ginsberg Where Have You Gone and What Would You Think of My Drugs?”