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Harvard Professor Stephen Burt on His Life as a Girl

PUBLISHED: October 23, 2012


Gillian Laub for The New York Times

Stephen Burt in Harvard Square | Gillian Laub for The New York Times


In the Fall 2012 issue, we are honored to feature an essay from Harvard professor Stephen Burt on his cross-dressing. He says:

What follows are tentative answers to persistent questions about how I look, how I want to look, why I often think that I would rather have been a woman, and why I’m sure I won’t try to become one. It has to do with sexual feeling, but it says almost nothing about sexual acts. … I also refer to poetry, since I care far more about poems—and think more often about them—than about how I look. I am a literary critic and a writer of verse, a parent and husband and friend, before and after I am a guy in a skirt, or a guy in blue jeans, or a fictional girl.

You can read his remarkable piece here at our website.

For further reading, we also recommend:

•  Poetry’s Cross-Dressing Kingmaker by Mark Oppenheimer  (New York Times magazine), which tells the story of Burt as one of the most influential poetry critics of his generation
•  Stephen Burt Explains His Favorite Poems by Mark Oppenheimer (New York Times 6th Floor blog), where Burt comments on two of his favorite poems referenced in the magazine profile
•  Whom and What to Read to Make You Like Poetry (and Sci-Fi) by Mark Oppenheimer (New York Times 6th Floor blog), which recommends other critics aside from Burt

If you’re on Twitter, follow Burt at @accommodatingly.


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