On Tuesday, November 27, 2007, Cushing Academy welcomed United States Poet Laureate (1997-2000) Robert Pinsky to campus. Poet, essayist, translator, teacher, and one of the few members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters to have appeared on “The Simpsons,” Pinsky shared with the community examples from his Favorite Poem Project, as well as his own sources of inspiration in an open question/answer forum. He later met with Cushing Scholars and English classes where he read selections from his collected works.
As Poet Laureate, Robert Pinsky became a public ambassador for poetry, founding the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans — of varying backgrounds, all ages, and from every state — shared their favorite poems. Pinsky believed that, contrary to stereotype, poetry had a vigorous presence in the American cultural landscape. The project sought to document that presence, giving voice to the American audience for poetry.
Pinsky encouraged Cushing students to invite members of the immediate community and beyond to share a favorite poem, much like the Favorite Poem Project. “A person’s favorite poem represents something they value. Hearing them read it is not just a snapshot, it’s a work of art. You feel it in the room.”