NEA Big Read 2020

The New Haven Free Public Library is pleased to once again participate in the NEA Big Read, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, in partnership with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and others including The Pride Center, People Get Ready, New Haven Public Schools and The Word.

This year’s selection is Advice from the Lights by Stephanie Burt. Find useful background information, discussion questions and other resources HERE and you can find it as in ebook in our collection HERE.

About the Book
The poetry collection Advice from the Lights (Graywolf Press, 2017) is a candid exploration of gender and identity that asks: How do any of us achieve adulthood? In her critically acclaimed collection, Burt engages with the transition from innocence to experience, contemporary politics, and parenthood. Her poems are fraught with fantastical sequences in which objects speak and animals grapple with their identities. This essential work asks who we are, how we become ourselves, and why we make art.

About the Author
Stephanie Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor. In 2012, the New York Times called Burt “one of the most influential poetry critics of [her] generation.” Burt has published books of criticism and four collections of poems. Her book Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (2009), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Burt is a Professor of English at Harvard University.

Read this Interview with the Festival, “What Mole Rats Have to Do with Gender Identity: The Poetry of Stephanie Burt.”  

NHFPL Big Read Virtual Micro Branch
The NHFPL Big Read Micro Branch features all-digital selections available to check out with a library card, including ebooks, audiobooks, adult and children’s picks. See the full list!

NHFPL Virtual Micro Branch for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas
The NHFPL Micro Branch for the International Festival of Arts & Ideas features all-digital selections available to check out with a library card, including ebooks, audiobooks, adult and children’s picks. See the full list!

Story Time Video Premiers
Join NHFPL staff for these video release dates, and tune in anytime afterwards!

When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lukoff
Wednesday, May 20
A celebration of trans identity, and self and familial love. Find it!

What Would You Wear?
Monday, May 25
Watch this story time based on Julian is a Mermaid written and illustrated by Jessica Love. Find it!

Spanish Translation of Julian is a Mermaid
Monday, May 25
Watch translation of Julian is a Mermaid by author and illustrator Jessica Love. Find it!

What Makes a Family
Thursday, May 28
Watch this story time based on Eustace and Clyde written and illustrated by Marina Aizen. Find it!

Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman
Thursday, June 4
A heart warming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who do not identify with traditional gender roles. Find it!

Virtual Craft Project
Make it Rainbow!
Monday, June 1
Celebrate this year’s Big Read book and get ready for Pride month by making rainbow garlands, sun catchers, and streamers to brighten up your home. Find it!

Book Club for Young Adult Book Lovers
YA Book Bash! featuring LGBTQ+ Books
Tuesday, June 23, 4-5 pm
A monthly book club for Teens & Adults interested in sharing YA’s hottest reads! Check out the NEA Big Read selection Advice from the Lights by Stephanie Burt in our Overdrive collection. This book of poetry is a memoir of the author’s experience with (mis)identity and longing to live her life as a woman. This book club meeting will include discussion questions based on reading ANY LGBTQ+ book and issues of identity and acceptance. Register