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U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky Visits UC

From Marge Simpson's 'Homer' to Homer's 'Ulysses,' this Poet Laureate has some epic tales to tell. Robert Pinsky shares them with the University of Cincinnati on Oct. 22.

Date: 10/16/2008 12:00:00 AM
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826

UC ingot  

Robert Pinsky
Robert Pinsky, U.S. Poet Laureate, 1997–2000

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky (1997–2000) will be sharing his poems with the UC community in two separate public events on Oct. 22.

Throughout his career, Pinsky dedicated himself to identifying and invigorating poetry’s place in the world. His first two terms as Poet Laureate were marked by such visible dynamism, and received such national enthusiasm in response, that the Library of Congress appointed him to an unprecedented third term.

Joanie Mackowski, an assistant professor in the Department of English & Comparative Literature, saw Pinsky lecture in 1997 at the Newport Naval Academy. “It was mind-blowing to see him enthrall an auditorium full of creased and upright cadets, teaching them about poetry,” she says.

As Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans shared their favorite poems. Pinsky believed that poetry had a vigorous presence in the American cultural landscape. The project sought to document that presence, giving voice to the American audience for poetry. The anthology Americans’ Favorite Poems, which include letters from project participants, is now in its 18th printing.

Pinsky’s book Gulf Music (FSG, fall 2007) is his seventh volume of poetry. His The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and received the Lenore Marshall Award and the Ambassador Book Award of the English Speaking Union. His most recent chapbook is entitled First Things to Hand (Sarabande, May 2006).

Pinsky’s books about poetry include Poetry and the World, nominated for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, The Sounds of Poetry, and more recently, Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry.

(Photo by Emma Dodge Hanson)
(Photo by Emma Dodge Hanson)

The poetry editor for the online magazine Slate, for seven years Pinsky appeared regularly on "The NewsHour" with Jim Lehrer. He writes the weekly “Poet’s Choice” column for the Washington Post. He was elected in 1999 to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Pinsky’s poems appear in magazines such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Threepenny Review, American Poetry Review and frequently in The Best American Poetry anthologies. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University. Pinsky is also the winner of the PEN/Voelcker Award, the William Carlos Williams Prize, the Lenore Marshall and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture’s 2006 Jewish Cultural Achievement Award in Literary Arts. He is one of the few members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters to have appeared on “The Simpsons.”

Event Details:
1) Question and Answer session
Where: Stratford Heights Banquet Room
When: 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22

2) Reading and book signing
Where: 427 Engineering Research Center (ERC)
When: 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22

Both events are free and open to the public.

Questions? Contact Joanie Mackowski at 513-556-3207.

Robert Pinsky's visit is being sponsored by the George Elliston Poetry Fund and the Department of English and Comparative Literature.