Robert Pinsky — Long Branch’s Master Poet
Poet of the City …
Long Branch native Robert Pinsky — a three-term Poet Laureate of the United States, distinguished Professor of English, and author of 20 books — is back in the spotlight at age 82 having written another classic, Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet (W.W. Norton & Company, 2022; $26.95). The Pinsky family story is classic Long Branch.
Dr. Pinsky’s compact memoir — in a tempting 232 pages — reflects on his start in the city he calls “inherently poetic” even as he holds “confused as can be” feelings about his birthplace today. With this Long Branch “mismosh” breeding, Pinsky would rise to great heights in the world of literature.
The duty of the “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress” — the official title — is to raise national awareness and appreciation for the reading and writing of poetry. The position was created in 1937 and Dr. Pinksy is the only three-term poet laureate. “No other living American poet has done so much to put poetry before the public eye,” according to the New York Times Sunday Book Review about Dr. Pinsky’s tenure (from 1997 to 2000).
“Genuine poetry can communicate before it’s understood.”
“In the late 1940s, a historic but run-down Jersey Shore resort town in a neighborhood of Italian, Black and Jewish families, Robert Pinsky began his unlikely journey to becoming a poet,” according to the book’s cover-jacket. The front cover shows a 1970s image of the famed Long Branch boardwalk. “All of my poems are about Long Branch — often, only I can tell,” said Dr. Pinsky during a March 2013 reading at Monmouth University in WLB.
Born in the city in October 1940, Pinsky graduated from Long Branch High School and Rutgers University (receiving the Jacob Cooper Logic prize). He went on to earn a doctorate from Stanford University in 1966. Husband to a psychotherapist and father of three, the Cambridge, Mass. resident is currently Professor of English and creative writing in Boston University’s graduate school program.
For more information on his career, writings and upcoming appearance visit his website — HERE.
• Spring 2017 Boston University Arts & Sciences: Robert Pinsky: America’s Poet — HERE
More Long Branch History & Photos:
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• Boardwalk & Pier — HERE
• Broadway — HERE
• Elberon — HERE
• Hotels — HERE
• Presidents — HERE