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 At the Foundling Hospital (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2011). His collection Gulf Music won the Theodore Roethke Prize in 2008. The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 was a finalist 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 The Inferno of Dante was awarded the Howard Morton Landon Translation Prize. 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 several anthologies, the project has produced 50 short documentaries showcasing Americans reading and discussing poems they love. The project website,, features these videos.

His recent autobiography is Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet. Among his prose works are The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief GuideDemocracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry (the 2002 Tanner Lecture at Princeton University); The Life of David; and Thousands of Broadways: Dreams and Nightmares of the American Small Town (2009).

He has appeared as a guest on The Simpsons and The Colbert Report.

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 Wellesley College and the University of California at Berkeley before coming to Boston University.

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