Robert Pinsky


Professor, Director of the Creative Writing Program

BA, Rutgers University
MA, PhD, Stanford University

Room 215

Robert Pinsky leads a poetry workshop each semester with students enrolled in the graduate writing program. At the end of the year, he works with students on completing their final theses.

Pinsky’s most recent collection of poems is his Selected Works (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2011). His collection Gulf Music won the Theodore Roethke Prize in 2008. Jersey Rain was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2000. The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and received both the Lenore Marshall Award and the Ambassador Book Award of the English Speaking Union. His other awards include the Shelley Memorial Award, the William Carlos Williams Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, as well as the Howard Morton Landon Translation Prize for his best-selling translation of The Inferno of Dante (1994). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

During Pinsky’s tenure as Poet Laureate of the United States, from 1997-2000, he created the Favorite Poem Project to document, promote, and celebrate poetry’s place in American culture. In addition to the anthologies, the project has produced 50 short documentaries showcasing Americans reading and speaking about poems they love. The project website,, features these videos, as well as a forum for teachers and students, including lesson plans developed at the Summer Poetry Institutes hosted at Boston University in 2001-2003.

Pinsky is co-editor of Americans’ Favorite Poems and Poems to Read, and An Invitation to Poetry, all of which grew out of his work with the Favorite Poem Project. A fourth anthology, Essential Pleasures: Poems to Read Aloud, was released in the Spring of 2009.  He was poetry editor for the online magazine Slate from 1996 – 2013.

Among his prose works are The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide (1998), Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry (2002), Life of David (2006), and most recently Thousands of Broadways: Dreams and Nightmares of the American Small Town (2009).

Born in 1940 in the seashore resort of Long Branch, New Jersey, Robert Pinsky attended Long Branch High School, Rutgers College, and Stanford University, where he held a Stegner Fellowship in Creative Writing. He taught at Wellesly College and the University of California at Berkeley before coming to Boston University.

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