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Robert Pinsky

Podcast: Poet Robert Pinsky on his memoir Jersey Breaks

This month on the Deerfield Public Library Podcast, it is my great honor to present a conversation I had with the poet Robert Pinsky on the occasion of the publication of his new memoir, Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet (W. W. Norton & Company, 2022).

Robert Pinsky is a celebrated poet, essayist, translator, teacher, and speaker. He served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 1997-2000, during which time he founded the popular Favorite Poem Project. He is the author of many poetry collections, including the anthology The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems, 1966-1996, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently the collection At the Foundling Hospital (FSG, 2016). He’s also the translator of the best-selling The Inferno of Dante. Robert is a professor of English and creative writing in the graduate program at Boston University. In the words of the New York Times Sunday Book Review, “No other living American poet—no other living American, probably—has done so much to put poetry before the public eye.”

Jersey Breaks is a fascinating memoir, not least because Robert Pinsky’s poetry and essays often play with the expectations and confines of autobiography and poetry itself. In kaleidoscopic, essayistic chapters, Robert Pinsky considers the experiences that make up his life and voice, while sharing how the places and words that make up our identity are always in motion.

You won’t want to miss this beautiful conversation in which Robert Pinsky tells us that including everything means including our questions about everything, too.

You can check out Jersey Breaks and other books by Robert Pinsky here at the library, or check out his website.

The Library is hosting a Favorite Poem Project Reading at the Library on Thursday, June 1, from 7:00—8:00 pm. If you are interested in being considered as a reader, please email me at with a favorite poem and why you chose it.  Or, sign up to attend as an audience member.

We hope you enjoy our 60th interview episode! Each month (or so), we release an episode featuring a conversation with an author, artist, or other notable guests from Chicagoland or around the world. Learn more about the podcast on our podcast page. You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you listen to podcasts. We welcome your comments and feedback—please send to

You can listen to all of our episodes in the player below.

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