Robert Pinsky was born on October 20, 1940 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Elected Poet Laureate of the United States in 1997, his tenure was marked by ambitious efforts to prove the power of poetry—not just as an intellectual pursuit in the ivory tower, but as a meaningful and integral part of American life. “I think poetry is a vital part of our intelligence, our ability to learn, our ability to remember, the relationship between our bodies and minds,” he told the Christian Science Monitor. “Poetry’s highest purpose is to provide a unique sensation of coordination between the intelligence, emotions and the body. It’s one of the most fundamental pleasures a person can experience.”
by Robert Pinsky
At the bad time, nothing betrays outwardly the harsh findings,
The studies and hospital records. Carols play.
Sitting upright in the transit system, the widowlike women
Wait, hands folded in their laps, as monumental as bread.
In the shopping center lots, lights mounted on cold standards
Tower and stir, condensing the blue vapour
Of the stars; between the rows of cars people in coats walk
Bundling packages in their arms or holding the hands of children.
Across the highway, where a town thickens by the tracks
With stores open late and crèches in front of the churches,
Even in the bars a businesslike set of the face keeps off
The nostalgic pitfall of the carols, tugging. In bed,
How low and still the people lie, some awake, holding the carols
Consciously at bay. Oh Little Town, enveloped in unease.