Poet Robert Pinsky Champions Poetry in America
On The Point, Mindy Todd interviews poet Robert Pinsky. She also speaks with local Cape Cod poets in advance of WCAI's new segment "Poetry Sunday," which will highlight local poets each Sunday morning during Weekend Edition.
Pinsky talks about the idea that people's individuality "fills out" a poem; it is written with someone’s voice and read with someone’s human voice, the actual living breath inside a body. Whoever reads the poem aloud becomes the proper medium for the poem. No aspect of a poem, he observes, is more singular, more unique, than its rhythm, for there are no rules. Pinsky received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1974, and in 1997 he was named the United States Poet Laureate and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, being the first and so far only poet to be named to three terms. As Poet Laureate, Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans of varying backgrounds, all ages, and from every state share their favorite poems. Pinsky believes that, contrary to stereotype, poetry has a strong presence in the American culture. The project sought to document that presence, giving voice to the American audience for poetry. Here is a link to the poem “Shirt,” by Robert Pinsky, which first appeared in the pages of The New Yorker in 1989