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Reading From His Poetry

Robert Pinsky, three-time Poet Laureate of the United States (1997-2000) and winner of a Pulitzer Prize believes that poetry is more alive in American culture than most Americans are willing to believe. "Oddly," he says, "poetry is probably more to the center of culture and more to the fringe of university English departments."

In order to discover how Americans feel about poetry and the poets who write it, Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project. The purpose of the Project is to create a video archive of ordinary- and above all, non-poet- Americans reading selections from their favorite poems. Much to Pinsky's surprise and delight, the Project has received over 12,000 entries since its inception in 1997.

Pinsky's books of poetry include An Explanation of America (1980), History of My Heart (1984), his Pulitzer Prize-winning work, The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 (1996), and his latest collection, Jersey Rain (2000). His critical works, Poetry and the World (1988) and The Situation of Poetry (1978), have helped define the traditions and complexities of modern poetry.

Pinsky's translation of Dante's Inferno, The Inferno of Dante: A New Verse Translation (1996), has been hailed by critics as one of the most powerful modern verse translations in print and appeared on the bestseller lists of the Boston Globe and New York Newsday. Pinsky has also collaborated with Czeslaw Milosz in the translation of some of the 1980 Nobel Laureate's most important poems.

A former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Pinsky has taught at Berkeley, Wellesley, and now at Boston University. He is also a regular guest commentator on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer. He is the editor of the literary magazine Slate and is currently at work editing the Norton Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry.

Please join us to hear one of America's most important literary voices.