JU Grads to Hear U.S. Poet Laureate

By Patton, Charlie | The Florida Times Union, May 5, 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

JU Grads to Hear U.S. Poet Laureate

Patton, Charlie, The Florida Times Union

Traditionally, the job of poet laureate of the United States is largely honorary, meant to call attention to poetry.

But Robert Pinsky, who will deliver the keynote address at commencement ceremonies tomorrow for Jacksonville University, has been an activist poet laureate, spending the last three years on his Favorite Poem Project.

Last year the project resulted in the publication of the anthology Americans' Favorite Poems (Norton), co-edited by Pinsky and Maggie Dietz, director of the Favorite Poem Project. The book contains 200 poems, culled from a total of 17,632 nominations, with Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled earning the distinction of most nominated poem. Poems in the book are accompanied by excerpts from 260 nominating letters.

Meanwhile, the project has begun posting online (Jacksonville.com, keyword poem) an archive of videos of people reading their favorite poems. There's one of President Clinton reading Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson, but Clinton's prominence makes him the exception. More typical is retired anthropologist Daniel McCall reading Shakespeare's Sonnet 29; student Pov Chin reading Langston Hughes' Minstrel Man and youth baseballer Lee Samuel reading Ernest Thayer's Casey at the Bat.

In addition to being a poet, an essayist, a translator and a teacher at Boston University, Pinsky is poetry editor of the online magazine Slate.

In an e-mail interview -- his aide said he was too busy to speak but would answer e-mail questions -- Pinsky said the tremendous response to the Favorite Poem Project confirmed his belief that, conventional wisdom to the contrary, poetry continues to play "a very significant role . . . in American lives."

In fact, in a society that becomes increasingly technical and impersonal, poetry's meaning increases, he said. "The pleasure and admiration for the mass arts, I believe, creates an appetite, in reaction, for a kind of art that is personal and individual in scale.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

JU Grads to Hear U.S. Poet Laureate


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?