BAR HARBOR — Novelist and poet Dan Burt will read from his work at College of the Atlantic on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 4:10 p.m. in McCormick Lecture Hall. Burt will share work from his new collection of poetry, “Salvage at Twilight.”
Burt was born in 1942 in South Philadelphia, the neighborhood shown in the first “Rocky” film, “his father a butcher who left school at 13 when the Depression began, mother a high school graduate whose racketeering family controlled the Tenderloin area of Central Philadelphia,” according to a press release.
He attended state primary and secondary schools, and LaSalle College, a local Christian Brothers college catering to working class boys, many of whom were the first in their families to attend college.
From 12 and a half to 21 and a half, eighth grade through three and half years of college, he worked as a butcher after school and on weekends. In summer he also worked as a mate on a charter sport fishing boat off the New Jersey coast.
Hugh Sykes-Davies, Director of English Studies at St John’s College, Cambridge, chose him as his 1964 wild card, and he went up to Cambridge University in 1964 to read English. He returned to America in 1966 and graduated from Yale Law School in 1969.
Burt practiced briefly with a national law firm from 1969-1971, was special assistant to the Under Secretary of the US Treasury for International Tax from 1971-1973, taught at Boston University law school from 1973 to 1974, consulted for a Big 8 international accounting firm from 1973 to 1975, then founded a law firm with US and Saudi Arabian offices. He sold his interest in this firm in late 1979.
During 1980-1985 he was president of the Capital Legal Foundation, a public policy, not-for-profit law firm engaged in “cultural warfare, of a type common in the U.S.” He founded his second commercial law firm in 1985 and sold it to Ernst & Young in 2015. He founded a U.S. based niche software company in 2007 and sold it to Markit in 2013.
Burt moved to London in 1994, where he and his wife and daughter live today. He took British citizenship in 2001 and renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2005, shortly after George W. Bush was sworn in as U.S. president for a second time.
His pro bono activities include advice and support for schools and museums in the UK. St. John’s made him an honorary fellow in 2001.
His poetry first appeared in journals and periodicals in 2007. To date his poetry has appeared in Poetry Review, PN Review, the TLS, The Financial Times, The Times, and Commonweal. Lintott/Carcanet Press published “Searched For Text,” a selection of his poems, in 2008. Marlborough Graphics/Lintott Press published “Cold Eye,” a collaboration with the UK artist Paul Hodgson, in 2010.
In April 2011 Lintott/Carcanet published “Certain Windows,” a new selection of his poetry and prose, and in 2012 Carcanet Press published his first collection, “We Look Like This.”
The first section of his memoir, “You Think It Strange,” was published in the UK by Notting Hill Editions in 2013, and in the U.S. by Overlook Press in 2015. Poetry Nation Review in the UK is serializing the full memoir, “Every Wrong Direction.” The Poetry Archive, the UK based repository for spoken poetry, has twice recorded him reading his work, and added it to their on-line archive. His poems and prose continue to appear in anthologies, pamphlets, journals and periodicals in the U.K. and U.S.