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Free Bloody Birds?: Frank Bidart, Robert Pinsky, Seamus Heaney
by Tom Sleigh
Poets Forum 2010 Highlight: Discussion Panels
Report: The Poets Forum on Aesthetic Diversity
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by Maureen N. McLane
Poets Forum Reading: Free Audio Download
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Czeslaw Milosz
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Harold Morton Landon Translation Award
Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize
Poets Forum
External Links
April 1997 interview on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
Transcipt, with RealAudio of a segment of the program.
The Favorite Poem Project
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Robert Pinsky
Photo by Scott Davidson

Robert Pinsky

On October 20, 1940, Robert Pinsky was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. He received a BA from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and earned both an MA and PhD in Philosophy from Stanford University, where he was a Stegner Fellow in creative writing, and studied under the poet and critic Yvor Winters.

He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Gulf Music: Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 2007); Jersey Rain (2000); The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 (1996), which received the 1997 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee; The Want Bone (1990); History of My Heart (1984); An Explanation of America (1980); and Sadness and Happiness (1975).

He is also the author of several prose titles, including The Life of David (Schocken, 2006); Democracy, Culture, and the Voice of Poetry (2002); The Sounds of Poetry (1998), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Poetry and the World (1988); and The Situation of Poetry(1977). In 1985 he also released a computerized novel, Mindwheel.

Pinsky has published two acclaimed works of translation: The Inferno of Dante (1994), which was a Book-of-the-Month-Club Editor's Choice, and received both the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award; and The Separate Notebooks by Czeslaw Milosz (with Renata Gorczynski and Robert Hass).

About his work, the poet Louise Glück has said, "Robert Pinsky has what I think Shakespeare must have had: dexterity combined with worldliness, the magician's dazzling quickness fused with subtle intelligence, a taste for tasks and assignments to which he devises ingenious solutions."

From 1997 to 2000, he served as the United States Poet Laureate and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. During that time, he founded the Favorite Poem Project, a program dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry's role in Americans' lives.

In 1999, he co-edited Americans' Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology with Maggie Dietz. Other anthologies he has edited include An Invitation to Poetry (W. W. Norton & Company, 2004); Poems to Read (2002); and Handbook of Heartbreak (1998).

His honors include an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, both the William Carlos Williams Award and the Shelley Memorial prize from the Poetry Society of America, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. He is currently poetry editor of the weekly Internet magazine Slate.

Pinsky has taught at both Wellesley College and the University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University. He served as a Chancellor for The Academy of American Poets from 2004 to 2010. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Multimedia

From the Image Archive
Poems by
Robert Pinsky

First Things to Hand
Improvisation on Yiddish
Poem in Disconnected Parts
Samurai Song
Shirt
Street Music
The Refinery

Read by
Robert Pinsky

The Question answerd by William Blake

Prose by
Robert Pinsky

In Intervals: Robert Pinsky and Tom Sleigh in Conversation
Robert Pinsky on Jan Richman's Because the Brain Can Be Talked Into Anything
Video: A Fundamental Art
Video: Dante and the Problem of Translation
Video: Seriously Funny

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