Pinsky, poet, scholar, and poetry advocate, has been a motivating and innovative force in the great popularization of poetry. His Favorite Poem Project brought poetry lovers of all ages and tastes together in a stream of excellent anthologies, including Poems to Read (2002), and he continues to match erudition with unabashed fun in his latest dynamic endeavor. Pinsky’s mission is to share both the “intellectual and bodily” pleasures of poetry, the latter best appreciated when poetry is read out loud—hence this ebullient read-aloud anthology. With an oceanic knowledge of poetry and a musical ear, Pinksy has assembled an astonishingly vital, enjoyable, centuries-spanning array cleverly organized by form. Here are beautiful, mournful, and funny love poems; narrative poems; odes; complaints; celebrations; parodies; and insults by both celebrated and obscure poets. A CD of Pinsky’s expert readings accompanies the book, but the point is to do it yourself. Readers who read these wisely selected poems out loud, whether to themselves, a sweetheart, friend, cat, or plant, will be amazed at what they discover. --Donna Seaman
Robert Pinsky is the author of eight collections of poetry including, most recently, his Selected Poems. His translation The Inferno of Dante won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry. His CD PoemJazz, with Grammy-winning pianist Laurence Hobgood, was released in 2012. As United States Poet Laureate, Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project (www.favoritepoem.org), in which thousands of Americans shared their favorite poems. That project gave rise to the previous anthologies, Americans’ Favorite Poems and An Invitation to Poetry, with each poem accompanied by readers’ comments. Pinsky teaches at Boston University.