"Sympathetic Reverberations"

February 1, 2019 | Festival Boca

(Photo credit:

Eric Antoniou


Robert Pinsky – arguably America’s greatest living poet – has dedicated his career to identifying and invigorating poetry’s place in the world. He has pursued this through his unprecedented three terms as US Poet Laureate, through his teaching at Boston University (where he received the highest honor that elite university bestows on senior faculty), through his own poetry and translations, through public lectures and online courses, and even through appearances on The Simpsons, the PBS NewsHour and The Colbert Report.
Yet there is yet another arm of Pinsky's poetic outreach, and he will be bringing it to Festival Boca: Jazz! 
Pinsky has produced two CDs of his jazz-poetry collaborations and has performed with numerous eminent jazz musicians across the country. Of the PoemJazz CD, one reviewer wrote:

“The sympathetic reverberations between the music of poetry and the poetry of music have rarely been so fully amplified as they are on this recording. I wish we could all hear new work like this all the time.”

Pinsky’s PoemJazz treats a voice speaking poetry as having a role like that of a horn: speech with its own poetic melody and rhythm, in conversation with what the music is doing. Pinsky creates a wholly simpatico artistic partnership with the jazz musicians. Both the music and the words are rife with improvisation, for Pinsky does not offer just a dramatic interpretations of his poems, but musical ones, focusing on cadence and harmony. The performance becomes richly spontaneous, worthy of both great jazz and great literature.

Pinsky will bring his PoemJazz to Festival Boca as part of the Authors & Ideas series, on Tuesday, March 5, at 7pm in the Cultural Arts Center. 
Pinsky will be introduced by P. Scott Cunningham, Boca native, winner of the Miller Williams Poetry Series, and author of YaTe Ver. Cunningham is the founder of O Miami, which celebrates Miami and South Florida through poetry.

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