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Robert PinskyRobert Pinsky, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, 1997-2000. Photo by N. Alicia Byers.

Robert Pinsky was first appointed by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in 1997, to be the ninth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry and the 39th person to occupy the Library’s poetry seat. He was then reappointed for a second term in 1998. A versatile scholar known for his probing poetry, Mr. Pinsky has wide interests and accomplishments in translation and in making poetry accessible through digital technology on the Internet. In commenting on his own appointment, Mr. Pinsky said: “American poetry has been one of our great national achievements. Along with the honor of following the American poets who have held this post, I have an opportunity to continue our appreciation of that treasure. I am very pleased.”

Pinsky teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Boston University. He is the author of 10 books of poetry, including Sadness and Happiness (1975); An Explanation of America (1980), awarded the Saxifrage Prize; History of My Heart (1984), which won the William Carlos Williams Prize; The Want Bone (1990); and The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 (1996), which won the 1997 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee. In 1999 he co-edited, with Maggie Dietz, Americans' Favorite Poems: The Favorite Poem Project Anthology. He has also published four books of criticism, including The Sounds of Poetry (1998), Poetry and the World (1988), and The Situation of Poetry (1977); two books of translation: The Inferno of Dante (1994), which received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award, and The Separate Notebooks by Czeslaw Milosz (with Renata Gorczynski and Robert Hass); and a computerized novel, Mindwheel (1985). His honors include an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, Poetry magazine's Oscar Blumenthal prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, the PEN/Voelcker Award, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.