Every Wrong Direction & A History by Dan Burt: Online Book Launch

  • DATE

    11 January 2023

  • TIME

    7:00 pm to 8:00 pm


    £2 (redeemable against the cost of the book)

Please join us to celebrate the double launch of Every Wrong Direction: An Emigré’s Memoir (Carcanet Press) and A History (Prototype) by Dan Burt. Dan will be joined in conversation by Michael Schmidt of Carcanet Press and Jess Chandler of Prototype. The event will feature readings and discussion, and audience members will have the opportunity to ask their own questions.

Every Wrong Direction recreates and dissects the bitter education of Dan Burt, an American emigré who never found a home in America. It begins in the row homes of Jewish immigrants and working-class Italians on the mean streets of 1950s South Philadelphia. Every Wrong Direction follows the author from the rough, working-class childhood that groomed him to be a butcher or charter boat captain, through America, Britain, and Saudi Arabia as student, lawyer, spy, culture warrior, and expatriate, ending with a photo of his college rooms at St John’s College, Cambridge. Between this beginning and end, through a Philadelphia commuter college, to Cambridge, then Yale Law School, across the working to upper classes, three countries, and seven cities over forty-three years, it maps his pursuit of, realisation, disillusionment with, and abandonment of America and the American Dream.

A History is an elegiac 10-poem sequence, written about and in memory of Jill Robinson, a vital and continual presence in the poet’s life for almost seven decades, until her death from cancer in 2018. Burt’s eye is acute, unsentimental, and self-critical, unflinching in its depiction of illness, and unrequited love. His language has a Yeatsian severity, charged by vulnerability and an acute and expansive historical awareness. Published to coincide with his personal-political memoir Every Wrong Direction (Carcanet), A History is a major work from a writer whose life story and poetic sensibility takes us to places not often captured in poetry.

Registration for this online event will cost £2, later redeemable against the cost of the book. All attendees will receive the discount code and how to purchase the book during and after event.

Please note that there is a limited number of places for the reading, so do book early to avoid disappointment. You should receive a confirmation email with details on how to join after you register. If this does not arrive, please contact us to let us know. Please also be aware that clicking ‘attending’ on the Facebook event will not guarantee your place – you must complete the Zoom registration here.

About the speakers:

Dan Burt was born in 1942 in South Philadelphia. He graduated from LaSalle College a Philadelphia working class college, read English at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1969. He was a lawyer, businessman, and Honorary Fellow of St. John’s when he began to publish poetry in 2008. Carcanet Press published four books of his poetry and prose (2008 – 2019), and Marlborough Graphics/Lintott Press a poetry and photography collaboration with Paul Hodgson (2010). Notting Hill Press brought out his brief childhood memoir, You Think It Strange, in the UK (2014), as did Overlook Press in the US (2015). His work has appeared in The Financial Times, The Sunday Times, The New Statesman, Commonweal, TLS, Granta, PN Review, Clutag Press, other newspapers, periodicals, and anthologies, and been featured on the BBC. He lives and writes in London, Cambridge, and Schooner Head, Maine.

Michael Schmidt FRSL, poet, scholar, critic and translator, was born in Mexico in 1947; he studied at Harvard and at Wadham College, Oxford, before settling in England. Among his many publications are several collections of poems and a novel, The Colonist (1981), about a boy’s childhood in Mexico. He is general editor of PN Review and founder as well as managing director of Carcanet Press. He lives in Manchester.

Jess Chandler founded Prototype in 2019. She was a co-founder of Test Centre, which ran from 2011 to2018, publishing innovative works of poetry and fiction. She also co-runs, withGareth Evans, the imprint House Sparrow Press. She has worked as an editor at Reaktion Books, and used to work as a researcher and producer on factual television programmes. She was the Digital Editor of Poetry London for 6 years. Jess has extensive experience editing and publishing a range of books, from fiction and poetry to illustrated art books, literary biography, history and philosophy, specialising in poetry and hybrid, multidisciplinary works.