Monday, March 4, 2024

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky Coming To WCCC

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. – Former poet laureate of the United States, Robert Pinsky, is bringing his words to Warren County.

The Warren County Community College Visiting Authors Series continues on Thursday, March 9, with a reading by Pinsky. The reading, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in room 123A, is free and open to the public.

Pinsky’s most recent book, from which he will read at WCCC, is “Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet” (W.W. Norton, 2022). The book recalls and invokes various influences in and around his childhood home of Long Branch that informed his path to poetry.

He is also the author of “Sadness and Happiness,” “An Explanation of America,” “The Want Bone,” “First Things to Hand,” “Gulf Music,” “Jersey Rain,” “History of My Heart” (winner of the William Carlos Williams Prize), “The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996” (a Pulitzer Prize finalist) and “At the Foundling Hospital.” A career-spanning collection, “Selected Poems,” was published 2011.

Pinsky’s first two terms as United States poet laureate were marked by such dynamism and such national enthusiasm in response, that the Library of Congress appointed him to an unprecedented third term. Throughout his career, Pinsky has been dedicated to identifying and invigorating poetry’s place in the world. 

As poet laureate, Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project in which thousands of Americans of varying backgrounds, ages and from every state shared their favorite poems. The project created two anthologies: “Americans’ Favorite Poems” and “An Invitation to Poetry.” Other edited anthologies include “Singing School: Learning to Read (and Write) Poetry by Studying with the Masters,” a combination anthology, personal essay and textbook, and “The Book of Poetry for Hard Times,” a gathering of poems that cope with the most extreme human emotions. He was also editor of “The Best of the Best American Poetry,” the 25th volume of the popular Best American Poetry series. Pinsky’s landmark, best-selling translation of “The Inferno of Dante” received the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Howard Morton Landon Translation Prize. He is also co-translator of “The Separate Notebooks,” poems by Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz. Pinsky’s prose book, “The Life of David,” is a lively retelling and examination of the David stories, narrating a wealth of legend as well as scripture.

Pinsky is the only member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters to have appeared on “The Simpsons” and “The Colbert Report”. For years a regular contributor to PBS’s “The NewsHour,” he publishes frequently in magazines such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Threepenny Review and The Best American Poetry anthologies. 

Pinsky is also the winner of the PEN/Voelcker Award, the William Carlos Williams Prize, the Lenore Marshall Prize, Italy’s Premio Capri, the Korean Manhae Award and the Harold Washington Award from the City of Chicago. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University. In 2015, Boston University named Pinsky a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, which is the highest honor bestowed on senior faculty members actively involved in research, scholarship, university civic life and teaching.

The evening reading will be followed by a Q & A with the audience and a book signing. Frenchtown Bookshop will be onsite for the reading, selling Pinksy’s books.

The Visiting Authors Series is supported by a grant from the Warren County Division of Cultural & Heritage Affairs. All physical site facilities comply with ADA regulations and are fully accessible. Sign language interpretation for any Visiting Authors Series event is available with two weeks’ notice.

Warren Community Community College is located at 475 Route 57 West in Washington Township. For more information, please visit www.warren.edu or call 908-835-WCCC.