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Every Wrong Direction

An Emigré's Memoir

Dan Burt

Cover of Every Wrong Direction by Dan Burt
10% off all versions
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, American, British, Memoirs
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (358 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2022)
9781800171909
£19.99 £17.99
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Oct 2022)
9781800171916
£15.99 £14.39
To use the EPUB version, you will need to have Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) installed on your device. You can find out more at https://www.adobe.com/uk/solutions/ebook/digital-editions.html. Please do not purchase this version if you do not have and are not prepared to install, Adobe Digital Editions.
  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • 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.
    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 ofSt. John’s when he began to ... read more
    'I was deeply moved by Every Wrong Direction; it is filled with courage, honesty and grace - and quite a bit of sheer page turning thrill. Burt tells it all beautifully and poignantly and what lingers is an impression of exemplary intelligence and daring.'

    Alain de Botton

    'Dan Burt is a fine poet, and this memoir has all the sensitivity and vigilance you might expect from a writer with such a background. But his prose also has a robustness and documentary power that continually startles and engages.'

    Sir Andrew Motion

    Praise for Dan Burt 'Admirably gutsy and hearty... revealing a gift for lively mimetic narrative'
    Rory Waterman, TLS
    'His language is terse to the point of brutality; the verbs ferocious... his core conviction, formed by the history of the twentieth century and a lifetime in a non-literary world, is of "the curtain falling on the Enlightenment".' Elaine Feinstein, PN Review  'the verse flexes muscle after muscle. Burt is excellent on place and occasion... The writing... can hover and dance. It has genuine grace. Certain Windows is a very good book...'
    George Szirtes, Poetry Book Society
     'Full of hard-won wisdom and beautiful lines, it's testament to the transforming power of poetry.'
    Suzy Feay, the Independent
    This is a major debut. Burt's tough, terse language explores the human truth reached when all protective skin is stripped away.
    Elaine Feinstein, The Times, 26th May 2012.
      'Dan Burt investigates the gaps between people, their cultures, their places of living. Between new and old worlds, between lives of deprivation and comfort, between inner and outer selves, there is something gritty and disturbing working away. From cynicism and anger to deeply felt and even traumatic elegy, these are the revelations and considerations of a life and the lives that contribute to and make one's own. In poems and prose that reach deep down into the reservoir of human loss, distress and need, comes hope. He is a writer of intensity and passion who is able to be wry when needs be. There are the costs, but there is also renewal.'
    John Kinsella
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