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Robert Pinsky 

As Poet Laureate of the United States (1997-2000), Robert Pinsky dedicated his unprecedented three terms to invigorating poetry's reputation in the literary world. He is the author of six books of poetry, acclaimed for their vivid detail, formal dexterity and multifarious styles, including The Figured Wheel and most recently Jersey Rain. Pinsky also writes critical texts and essays on the current state of poetry, and poetry's purpose in culture, which he believes is to address 'cultural needs by communicating a shared set of social meanings,' even though poetry is infamous for its intimate and often cryptic nature. Pinsky also founded the wildly popular 'Favorite Poem Project,' which revealed that poetry makes up a great part of the national fabric despite the prevalent notion that poetry is a dying art. As a continuing ambassador for poetry, Pinsky will participate in the 'Branching Out: Poetry for the 21st Century' program, a limited national tour of celebrated poets giving their professional take on classic poets. Pinsky will discuss the works of William Carlos Williams and Robert Frost in a salon setting. After Pinsky's talk there will be a question and answer session with the audience. Books by Williams, Frost and Pinsky will be for sale and refreshments will be served. The series is sponsored by Poets House, Poetry Society of America, New Orleans Public Library and the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Free admission.

7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1
Smith Regional Library, 6301 Canal Blvd., 596-2625;,,

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