Reading From His Poetry
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2001
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
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
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
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