Robert Pinsky, United States Poet Laureate, to speak at Fairfield University


Image: Robert PinskyRobert Pinsky read the dictionary and daydreamed about the sounds of words as a child, later finding inspiration in the work of Yeats, Ginsberg, Frost and Eliot. On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Pinsky, Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 to 2000, will speak at Fairfield University's Open VISIONS Forum. "Keeping the Humanities Alive Via Poetry" is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Pinsky, a Long Branch, N.J. native, is poetry editor of the online journal Slate, a regular contributor to "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS and a professor in the graduate writing program at Boston University. After an acclaimed writing and teaching career of 30 years, he joined the company of Robert Penn Warren, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and others when he was named the nation's poet laureate in 1997. Pinsky's endeavor to create an archive that would allow Americans to read their favorite poems for video recording was enormously successful; in addition to a print collection and a website, the "Favorite Poem Project" resulted in a set of 50 short video documentaries, permanently housed at the Library of Congress.

Known as "the people's poet," Pinsky combines the esoteric with the everyday in his poetry, often trying to mimic in his writing the rhythm of the saxophone, an instrument he plays. He has published six books of poetry, most recently a collection titled "Jersey Rain." His 1996 work, "The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1965-1995," received the Lenore Marshall Award and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. And his 1994 translation of Dante's "Inferno" made the 600-year-old classic a best seller, earning both the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Poetry and the Howard Morton Landon Prize for translation.

Pinsky's honors also include an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters award, Poetry magazine's Oscar Blumenthal prize, the William Carlos Williams Award and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including The New Yorker, Paris Review and the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. From 1979 to 1986, Pinsky was poetry editor at The New Republic. He taught at Wellesley College and the University of California, Berkeley before joining the faculty at Boston University. He lives in Newton Corner, Mass.

Open VISIONS Forum is an outreach program of the School of Continuing Education. The Pinsky lecture is co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute and the College of Arts and Sciences. Tickets for the event are $15, with discounts available for seniors and students. Call the box office at (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-ARTS-396.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 1, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 151