Robert Pinsky on the Distinctly American Tradition of Improvisation
Live from the 2022 Miami Book Fair
The Miami Book Fair began as a two-day event in November 1984, when a small group of determined individuals—including educators from Miami Dade College, independent booksellers, and librarians—founded Miami Book Fair International. In the nearly 40 years since, Miami Book Fair has grown into one of the most significant cultural events in the region, the most comprehensively programmed book fair in the nation, and an internationally recognized model of excellence.
In Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet, Robert Pinsky, a U.S. poet laureate (1997-2000) and Pulitzer Prize finalist, traces the roots of his poetry to the voices of his boyhood neighborhood, Long Branch—a historic but run-down New Jersey shore resort town—amid Italian, Black, and Jewish families. It’s those voices, he says, and a distinctly American tradition of improvisation. Moderating is Campbell McGrath, the award-winning author of 11 books of poetry, including XX: Poems for the Twentieth Century, a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize.
Watch this video and more from the 2022 Miami Book Fair at miamibookfair.com.
Robert Pinsky is the author of numerous books of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Figured Wheel, and prose, including The Sounds of Poetry. He served as United States Poet Laureate from 1997 to 2000, during which time he founded the Favorite Poem Project. He has edited several anthologies, most recently The Book of Poetry for Hard Times. Pinsky teaches at Boston University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.