Seniors Thank Robert Pinsky

On Thursday, November 19, Robert Pinsky, Poet Laureate of the U.S. from 1997-2000, visited Robin Neal’s senior elective on local living writers. The discussion ranged from his writing process, to his thoughts on the being the “official” U.S. poet, to students’ college choices.

Poet Robert Pinsky speaks with Beaver students

To thank him for his visit, Mr. Neal and his students wrote Mr. Pinsky brief thank you notes which are posted below. Be sure to see Mr. Pinsky’s response at the end of the post.

Thank you notes:

Dear Mr. Pinsky,

We just wanted to send you our thanks for visiting Beaver Country Day School yesterday. After working through several of your poems–the richest and most complex pieces we studied this term–I think we expected to meet someone more eccentric and esoteric.

We were delighted, and admittedly surprised, to discover a man who is so warm, funny, generous, and…in the students’ words…just “plain cool.” Thank you again for giving of your time and yourself in such an engaging, welcoming way. We hope you enjoyed your visit, and my students included some brief notes below.

Robin Neal

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come speak to our class. “Pliers” is my favorite of your poems and hearing you read it was truly a memorable experience. Sound can really affect the way a poem is read and even understood–I see that now.
-Mariah Shore

Thank you for generously taking time out of your schedule to answer questions from our class and school. Your ability to share your thoughts on life and poetry was truly fantastic.
-Justin Conway

Mr. Pinsky, we were amazed at your ability to quote poems, and we hope that one day we can become as familiar with poetry as you are, thank you.
-Cam Bloy and Kayla Masterman

Thank you for making your visit as interesting and fun as possible. I really enjoyed how honest you were with your answers.
-Mariela DeLeon

Thank you for taking the time to come to our school to talk to us. Your sense of humor made your answers to our questions relatable.
– Laura Haigler

Mr. Pinsky, you were a real inspiration. When we were reading your poems as a class, I was really fascinated with your idea of “things” and “things” are lost or forgotten in time. I also really admired your skill and use of sound in your poetry. I’m sure you could recite any poem and make it sound like music. It was an honor to meet you.
-Christina Nanfeldt

Thank you so much for coming yesterday. I thought it was very interesting to hear that you were interested in music as well as poetry.
-Sam King

Thank you for such a wonderful visit. I really enjoyed when you recited the different poems. It was also a relief to hear you say that it doesn’t matter which college you go to!
-Alex Strawbridge

Thank you Mr. Pinsky, I truthfully enjoyed your writing yesterday. I was impressed with your ability to recall poetry from all times throughout history. Thank you for visiting our class, I will continue to read your poetry in the future.
– Daniel Fellman

Thank you so much for taking your time to visit our class yesterday. I really enjoyed when you read your poems aloud because they came alive, and I enjoyed learning more about you as a poet. Thanks again.
– Haley Peck

Mr. Pinsky, hearing from you yesterday was so interesting, and I now feel like I can understand your poems better! Thank you!
-Margaret Gregory

Mr Pinsky, your optimistic outlook on the world was inspiring. Thank you so much for visiting our class. Your humorous personality was contagious, and you are a great public speaker.
-Brooke Marram

Thank you very much for a wonderful visit. It was very relieving to hear you say that it does not matter what college you go to. Your answers were very interesting and fun. I loved when you rearranged the word winter and made a poem out of it. Thanks again for your time.
-Tyler Chazan Starr

Your enthusiasm throughout your visit allowed me to be really engaged. I particularly liked how you said, “Poetry is inherently and by its nature on a different scale….[It] respects the dignity of the individual,” because it gave me a new and intriguing perspective of poetry. Thanks again for taking the time to visit us!
– Caroline Margolis

Thank you so much for visiting our school and sharing your passion for poetry. I truly enjoyed the way you recited those poems with such enthusiasm.
– Jenn Chan

Thank you so much for coming. Dylan and I loved your South Park reference. We also admired your enthusiasm for the Favorite Poem Project. Hopefully our paths will cross again.
–Matty Friedman and Dylan Judson

Mr. Pinsky’s Response

Dear Mr. Neal and Students,

I really appreciate hearing from you.

What students say in your email message means a lot to me– I hope you do feel encouraged to appreciate poems as works of art, made for a voice . . . and not as challenges to say smart things, as though a work of art were a College Board Question!

Here are a couple of web sites where I read my work:

And I hope you do see the videos at

And for dessert:

Keep listening to poems, and enjoying them!

Robert Pinsky

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