Robert Pinsky American Literature Analysis
Pinsky continually confronts the major contemporary issue of human interconnectedness and every person’s involvement in one another’s lives: ethnically, socially, politically, historically, religiously, temporally, and through place. Though raised in a Jewish household, he seems to express an ambiguity or inner conflict of calling himself Jewish in his poems and dismisses a labeling of himself as only a Jewish author. His poetry encompasses far more than one religion or one place. In the closing notes of The Figured Wheel, Robert Pinsky states: “Religion concerns me . . . as a vivid, charged example of the passion to create.” His affinity for religion then may be a religion of art itself.
Pinsky’s poetry is known for reverberating and echoing the past in each present moment and image. For example, in “Shirt,” one finds a circling back and forth in time and place between a shirt the speaker is wearing, the people who made this shirt, a fire in 1911 at the Triangle Shrtwaist factory in New York City, and the English poet George Herbert. This poem acts like a photograph album where each image is like a depiction of different scenes but all of the same book, all somehow of similar fate and destiny.
For Pinsky, it became art that could translate the complexities of the world and its people into an understandable language. This language is best understood through hearing poetry spoken by a living human being. Pinsky often...
(The entire section is 2876 words.)
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