Georgetown (Texas) - Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky will be the featured speaker at the 2006 Writer’s Voice series sponsored by the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library at Southwestern University.

“An Evening with Robert Pinsky” will be held Wednesday, Nov. 8, beginning at 7:30 p.m. with a reading and commentary by the author in the Lois Perkins Chapel. A reception and book signing will follow in the McCombs Campus Center.

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available to the public beginning Oct. 20 and may be obtained by calling 512-863-1561 or following the Writer’s Voice link at

Pinsky was Poet Laureate and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1997-2000. His first two terms as Poet Laureate were marked by such dynamism and enthusiasm that the Library of Congress appointed him to an unprecedented third term.

As Poet Laureate, Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans shared their favorite poems. The original anthologies, Americans’ Favorite Poems and Poems to Read, include letters from project participants and became best-sellers.

Pinsky’s own poems have earned praise for their formal dexterity, unique music and ambitious range. He is the author of six acclaimed collections of poetry, including Jersey Rain. His collection The Figured Wheel was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and received the Lenore Marshall Award and the Ambassador Book Award of the English Speaking Union. His most recent book is First Things to Hand (Sarabande, May 2006).

Pinsky’s landmark translation of Dante’s Inferno received the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Howard Morton Landon Prize for translation. He is co-translator of The Separate Notebooks by Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz. Pinsky’s 2005 book The Life of David is a lively examination of the King David stories.

“I’m thrilled that Robert Pinsky will be visiting our campus to read and talk about poems and what place poetry does - or should - occupy in our culture,” said Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton, associate professor of English at Southwestern. “It’s an amazing opportunity for members of the community to hear and visit with the man who is both the finest literary poet of his generation and also the most passionate advocate for poetry’s democratizing and humanizing potential to shape our world outside the classroom and the ivory tower.”

Lynne Brody, dean of library services at Southwestern, said Pinsky is the perfect choice to bring to Southwestern as the first poet in the library’s annual Writer’s Voice series.

“Robert Pinsky’s body of work has so many elements, combining complexity and richness with accessibility. It has much to offer the reader,” Brody said.

Pinsky’s many honors include an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, Poetry Magazine’s Oscar Blumenthal Prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.

He currently teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University and is poetry editor of the weekly online magazine Slate.


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