In His New Memoir, Jersey Breaks, Robert Pinsky Traces His Journey to Becoming a Poet

John O’Rourke in BU Today:

It is hard to imagine anyone who has done more to champion poetry than Robert Pinsky. The author of 10 collections of poems—including the Pulitzer Prize–nominated The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems, 1966-1996—Pinsky has edited anthologies, written more than a half-dozen prose books about poetry, and translated Dante’s Inferno and the poems of Czesław Miłosz. As director of BU’s Creative Writing Program, he has helped launch the careers of many of the country’s most accomplished young contemporary poets.

But Pinsky, a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor and College of Arts & Sciences professor of English and of creative writing, exerted perhaps the greatest influence as US poet laureate. During his three terms (1997-2000), he launched the Favorite Poem Project, which invited Americans of all ages and walks of life to share the poems that matter most to them. More than 18,000 answered the initial open call for submissions, resulting in dozens of videos of people reading beloved poems. Those films are available for viewing in a recently completed digital database, housed at Boston University. Pinsky became a de facto ambassador for poetry, appearing on shows as varied as The PBS NewsHour, The Stephen Colbert Show, and The Simpsons.

More here.