Robert Pinsky was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, on October 20, 1940. His father was an optician, and his parents were Orthodox Jews. Though influenced by keeping kosher and going to Hebrew school, his parents went to synagogue only on High Holidays.
Pinsky attended Long Branch High School in New Jersey, and while growing up, he fell in love with music. Childhood impressions of everyday sounds gave Pinsky his first desire to explore the mysterious rhythms of life. He began as a saxophonist and with writing songs. He eventually started writing poetry. This became not only his outlet for rhythm, voice, and sound, but also for ideas and a connection to humanity. He earned his B.A. from Rutger’s University and then his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. At Stanford, he held the Stegner Fellowship for creative writing. He then taught at Berkeley University in California and Wellesley College in Massachusetts. He eventually moved to Boston, where he continued to teach creative writing at Boston University into the twenty-first century.
After publishing a collection of essays, Landor’s Poetry, in 1968, he received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1974. In 1975, he published a collection of poetry titled Sadness and Happiness. In 1976, Pinsky published another collection of essays titled The Situation of Poetry. In 1980, his second collection of poems, titled An Explanation of America (1979), received the Saxifrage Prize. He was awarded the William Carlos Williams award of the Poetry Society of America in 1984 for his publication of History of My Heart (1984). He published a third...
(The entire section is 688 words.)