Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky
Photo by Vernon Doucette

Robert Pinsky’s awards include the William Carlos Williams Prize,

the Italian Premio Capri, and the Manhae Prize. He served an

unprecedented three terms as U.S. Poet Laureate. He teaches in the

MFA program at Boston University and is poetry editor of Slate.

Intense verbal music with a jazz feeling; invention against the grain of

expectation; intelligence racing among materials with the variety of a

busy street—these have been the qualities of Robert Pinsky’s work

since his first book, Sadness and Happiness (1975), celebrated for

setting a new direction in American poetry. At that time, responding

to a question about that book, Pinsky said: “I would like to write a

poetry which could contain every kind of thing, while keeping all the

excitement of poetry.”

That ambition was realized in a new way with each of his books,

including the book-length personal monologue An Explanation of

America; the transformed autobiography of History of My Heart ; the

bestselling translation The Inferno of Dante ; and, most recently, the

savage, inventive Gulf Music . That variety and renewal are

represented in this brilliantly chosen volume.

“Simply said, Robert Pinsky is one of the few literary artists working

in our language whose work is unquestionably major work.”

—Louise Glück

Robert Pinsky: Selected Poems is his lates book.

Writers Festival Appearances