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Readings to Go: Robert Pinsky

Three-time U.S. poet laureate reads his new poem

In the video above, Robert Pinsky, a College of Arts and Sciences professor of poetry and three-time U.S. poet laureate, reads his new poem “Poem of Disconnected Parts” at the Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture in April 2007. Writer and feminist Grace Paley was the featured speaker, introduced by Pinsky, and Samantha Mineo Myers (GRS’02), a CAS Writing Program lecturer, read four short poems. 

Pinsky is the author of six books of poetry: Jersey Rain; The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems, 1966–1996, winner of the 1997 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and a Pulitzer Prize nominee; The Want Bone; History of My Heart; An Explanation of America; and Sadness and Happiness. He has published four books of criticism, The Sounds of Poetry, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Poetry and the World; The Situation of Poetry; and Democracy, Culture, and the Voice of Poetry; two books of translation, The Inferno of Dante, which received 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); a prose book, The Life of David; and a computerized novel, Mindwheel. During his unprecedented three terms as poet laureate, from 1997 to 2000, Pinsky created the Favorite Poem Project to document, promote, and celebrate poetry’s place in American culture. In 1999 he coedited Americans’ Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology with Maggie Dietz (GRS’97), now the project’s director. They published An Invitation to Poetry: A New Favorite Poem Project Anthology in 2004. Pinsky is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The semiannual Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture Series was established in 2005 to bring distinguished writers to campus to read their works alongside a member of the Creative Writing Program faculty and a recent graduate of the program. The lecture series is funded by Nancy Livingston (COM’69) and her husband, Fred Levin, through the Shenson Foundation, in memory of Ben and A. Jess Shenson.