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Robert Pinsky: Pick of the Week [ed. Terence Winch]

Robert Pinsky   2019. Photo ©Eric Antoniou   web












Robert Pinsky, 2019. Photo ©Eric Antoniou.


Poem with Lines in Any Order


Sonny said Then he shouldn’t have given Molly the two more babies.

Dave’s sister and her husband adopted the baby, and that was Babe.

You can’t live in the past.

Sure he was a tough guy but he was no hero.

Sonny and Toots went to live for a while with the Braegers.

It was a time when it seemed like everybody had a nickname.

Nobody can live in the future.

When Rose died having Babe, Dave came after the doctor with a gun.

Toots said What would you expect, he was a young man and there she was.

Sonny still a kid himself when Dave moved out on Molly.

The family gave him Rose’s cousin Molly to marry so she could raise the children.

There’s no way to just live in the present.

In their eighties Toots and Sonny still arguing about their father.

Dave living above the bar with Della and half the family.


Robert Pinsky’s books include The Figured Wheel (finalist for the Pulitzer Prize); his translation The Inferno of Dante; and his Princeton Tanner Lectures, Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry. He founded the Favorite Poem Project, with the videos here. His honors include the Korean Manhae Award and the Italian Premio Capri. He has appeared on The Simpsons and The Colbert Report. [For more information on, and poems by, Robert Pinsky, click here.]


Pinsky triptych    

Robert Pinsky: “The gangster sexual style of my grandfather, Dave Pinsky, underlies this poem. I am the boy he is holding in the first photo. In the photo on the right, he is with his beautiful first wife Rose—as the poem tells, when she died after childbirth, he came after the doctor with a gun.”



September 17, 2021

September 12, 2021

September 11, 2021

September 06, 2021

September 05, 2021

September 03, 2021

August 29, 2021

August 27, 2021

August 22, 2021

August 20, 2021

August 15, 2021

August 13, 2021

August 08, 2021

August 06, 2021

August 01, 2021

July 30, 2021

July 27, 2021

July 25, 2021

July 23, 2021

July 22, 2021

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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