To describe him as a man that merely writes poetry would significantly underestimate the incredible contribution and dedication he has made to modern poetry. Robert Pinsky, a poet critic and translator, is a remarkable and influential figure in contemporary poetry (Baym 2777). Born in October of 1940, Pinsky grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey. He received a B.A. from Rutgers University in New Jersey as well as a M.A. & Ph.D. in Philosophy at Stanford University. In 1961, he married Ellen Jane Bailey, a clinical psychologist, and together they had 3 children.
Pinsky has accomplished many things in his life such as being the author of several collections of poetry, prose titles, and two acclaimed works of translation. In addition to those accomplishments, he also served from 1997-2000 as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. During these 3 years he founded the Favorite Poem Project. This program allows thousands of Americans of all diverse backgrounds and states to share their favorite poems.
Pinsky has also taught at Wellesley College, UC Berkeley, and served as the Chancellor for The Academy of American Poets from 2004 to 2010. He currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts and teaches at Boston University in the graduate writing program. His work acknowledges and celebrates the way literature shapes his (and our) sense of life and experience and language. His poetry is so distinctively American in its diction and subjects that his important work as a translator can come as a surprise (Baym 2778).
Louise Glück, also a poet, says about Pinsky’s work that, “Robert Pinsky has what I think Shakespeare must have had: dexterity combined with worldliness, the magician’s dazzling quickness fused with subtle intelligence, a taste for tasks and assignments to which he devises ingenious solutions” (Poets.org). Pinsky hoped that his people’s individuality would fill out the poem in their own personal way. He states, “The poetry I love is written with someone’s voice and I believe its proper culmination is to be read with someone’s voice…” (Wikipedia). Pinsky’s poetry is also shaped by his experiences of being a musician. Early on in his life, he was inspired by the tension of jazz and the excitement it brought him (Wikipedia). These experiences have heavily influenced his work and are an important part of his poetry.
His criticism and verse show his concern for a contemporary poetic diction. He had great efforts to prove the power of poetry and show its meaningful and integral part of American life (Poetry Foundation). He states, “I think poetry is a vital part of our intelligence, our ability to learn, our ability to remember, the relationship between our bodies and minds…” (Poetry Foundation). Tony Hoagland contends that Pinsky’s poetic gifts are better suited than almost anyone’s to represent the postmodern situation-it’s wonder, duplicities, and estrangements” (Hunter, 243). Lastly, Critics praise Pinsky’s work for his...