Robert Pinsky

Professor of English and Creative Writing, College of Arts & Sciences

Robert Pinsky is a professor of?English and Creative Writing and currently serves as poetry editor for the online magazine Slate. In the fall of 2014, Pinsky will teach a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) titled “The Art of Poetry” on the edX platform.

Pinsky’s most recent collection of poems is his Selected Works (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2011). His collection Gulf Music won the Theodore Roethke Prize in 2008. Jersey Rain was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2000. The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and received both the Lenore Marshall Award and the Ambassador Book Award of the English Speaking Union. His other awards include the Shelley Memorial Award, the William Carlos Williams Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, as well as the Howard Morton Landon Translation Prize for his best-selling translation of The Inferno of Dante (1994). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

During Pinsky’s tenure as Poet Laureate of the United States, from 1997-2000, he created the Favorite Poem Project to document, promote, and celebrate poetry’s place in American culture. In addition to the anthologies, the project has produced 50 short documentaries showcasing Americans reading and speaking about poems they love. The project website,, features these videos, as well as a forum for teachers and students, including lesson plans developed at the Summer Poetry Institutes hosted at Boston University in 2001-2003.

Pinsky is co-editor of Americans’ Favorite Poems and Poems to Read, and An Invitation to Poetry, all of which grew out of his work with the Favorite Poem Project. A fourth anthology, Essential Pleasures: Poems to Read Aloud, was released in the Spring of 2009.

Among his prose works are The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide (1998), Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry (2002), Life of David (2006), and most recently Thousands of Broadways: Dreams and Nightmares of the American Small Town (2009).