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Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky:
"Poetry and American Memory"
Event Date: Thursday, October 8, 1998

With this lecture on "Poetry and American Memory," Mr. Pinsky officially opened the Library's 1998-1999 poetry and literature series. The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry is appointed each year by the Librarian of Congress.

See and hear Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky
(note: the free RealPlayer G2 software is required to view - download here)


Mr. Pinsky discussed the ancient origins of poetry as a memory device at a previous Library lecture, when he said: "Poetry is a technique developed by this animal, the human--a fairly useless animal. It has no claws, no hide, no real teeth and it doesn't run fast, but it is clever and it looks around a lot. For survival it developed forms of communication evolved for the purposes of memory, for the effective storage of important information and the transmission of that information accurately and effectively from one person to that person's peers."

Mr. Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project, part of the Library's bicentennial celebration in the year 2000, continues to encourage Americans to read or recite a favorite poem; readings have occurred across the United States. Individuals interested in submitting suggestions may write to Mr. Robert Pinsky, Creative Writing Department, Boston University, 236 Bay State Road, Boston, MA, 02215.

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