The first and only poet laureate to serve three terms, beginning in 1997 and continuing through the spring of 2000.
“The test of whether it's poetry is: does it sound beautiful when you say the words over, in your mind or your voice, with no skilled performer, no music, just the sounds and meanings in the words themselves.”
He created the Favorite Poem Project 1997 and it is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives.
During the one-year open call for submissions, 18,000 Americans wrote to the project volunteering to share their favorite poems — Americans from ages 5 to 97, from every state, of diverse occupations, kinds of education and backgrounds. From those thousands of letters and emails, we've culled several enduring collections:
This popular, award-winning website, features an interactive gallery for viewing the Favorite Poem videos and is a growing resource for teachers and communities.
Here is an example of his poetry:
When I had no roof I made Audacity my roof. When I had No supper my eyes dined. When I had no eyes I listened. When I had no ears I thought. When I had no thought I waited. When I had no father I made Care my father. When I had No mother I embraced order. When I had no friend I made Quiet my friend. When I had no Enemy I opposed my body. When I had no temple I made My voice my temple. I have No priest, my tongue is my choir. When I have no means fortune Is my means. When I have Nothing, death will be my fortune. Need is my tactic, detachment Is my strategy. When I had No lover I courted my sleep.
- Online resources for Robert Pinsky.