LEARNING RESOURCES @ BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC
[The Sounds of Poetry: a display inspired by the 18th Annual Liberal Arts Symposium Featuring Robert Pinksy]


Click here for more information about the symposium and related events.

Click here for more even more Robert Pinksy library materials to explore.
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Selected Works of Representative Poets Laureate

Featured Poet: Robert Pinsky

Gulf Music
by Robert Pinsky 
PS3566 .I54 G86 2007

An improvised, even desperate music, yearning toward knowledge across a gulf, informs Pinsky’s first book of poetry since Jersey Rain.
On the large scale of war or the personal scale of family history, in the movements of people and cultures across oceans or between eras, these poems discover connections between things seemingly disparate. 

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The Want Bone
by Robert Pinsky
PS 3566 .I54 W36 1990

Poems deal with the unseen presence of history, the evolution of desire, the creative genius in an ordinary shirt, the life of a diamond cutter, and the perspectives of religion.  

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The Sounds of Poetry: a Brief Guide
by Robert Pinsky
PN 1101.P55 1999

The Poet Laureate's clear and entertaining account of how poetry works. "Poetry is a vocal, which is to say a bodily, art," Robert Pinsky declares inThe Sounds of Poetry. "The medium of poetry is the human body: the column of air inside the chest, shaped into signifying sounds in the larynx and the mouth. In this sense, poetry is as physical or bodily an art as dancing."  

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Selected Poems
by William Carlos Williams,
Robert Pinsky, editor
PS3545.I544 A6 2004


"No poetry is more fresh, more immediate, more deftly challenging," writes editor Robert Pinsky. "William Carlos Williams is at the center of one of poetry's great historic flowerings."  

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2001-Present

The Wild Iris
by Louise Glück
PS3557.L8 W5 1992

The Wild Iris was written during a ten-week period in the summer of 1991. Louise Cluck's first four collections consistently returned to the natural world, to the classical and biblical narratives that arose to explain the phenomena of this world, to provide meaning and to console....Now in The Wild Iris, her most important and accomplished collection to date, ecstatic imagination supplants both empiricism and tradition, creating an impassioned polyphonic exchange among the god who "disclose[s]/virtually nothing", human beings who "leave/signs of feeling/everywhere", and a garden where "whatever/returns from oblivion returns/ to find a voice". 

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What Work Is
by Philip Levine
PS3562.E9 W47 1992

This collection amounts to a hymn of praise for all the workers of America. These proletarian heroes, with names like Lonnie, Loo, Sweet Pea, and Packy, work the furnaces, forges, slag heaps, assembly lines, and loading docks at places with unglamorous names like Brass Craft or Feinberg and Breslin’s First-Rate Plumbing and Plating. Only Studs Terkel’s Working approaches the pathos and beauty of this book. 

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Walking the Black Cat
by Charles Simic
PS3569.I4725 W35 1996

Hamlet’s ghost wandering the halls of a Vegas motel, a street corner ventriloquist using passersby as dummies, and Jesus panhandling in a weed-infested Eden are just a few of the startling conceits Simic unleashes in this collection. 

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The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems
by Billy Collins
PS3553.O47478 T76 2007

In this dazzling new collection, his first in three years, Collins explores boyhood, jazz, love, the passage of time, and, of course, writing–themes familiar to Collins’s fans but made new here. Gorgeous, funny, and deeply empathetic, Billy Collins’s poetry is a window through which we see our lives as if for the first time.

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1991-2000

Seven for luck
by John Williams, 
text by Rita Dove
M1612.W55 S4 1997

Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, former Poet Laureate of the United States, and one of our most distinguished literary figures, penned the group of poems that are the basis for this John Williams composition. Ms. Dove writes with wit and wisdom of the many phases of a woman's life, including adolescence, courting, love, pregnancy, betrayal, and renewal. Originally composed for soprano and full orchestra.


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A Part of Speech
by Joseph Brodsky
PG3479.4.R64 C45 1980

Brodsky's first collection to be published since he settled in the United States as an involuntary Russian exile contains restrained, sometimes humorous, sometimes epigrammatic verses marked by serious wit and an acute sense of place.







1981-1990

Of Dreams and Other Possibilities
composed by Patrice Rushen; text by Langston Hughes & Gwendolyn Brooks.
M1538 .R863 O3

Text of 1st movement by Langston Hughes;    text of 2nd movement by Gwendolyn Brooks.  Commissioned by the Plymouth Music Series of Minnesota Odyssey Commissioning Program.

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Candide: a comic operetta in two acts
by Leonard Bernstein, based on the satire by Voltaire, lyrics by Richard Wilbur
MP1503.B476 C3

This score incorporates the composer's final intentions regarding Candide. The engraving of this score is based on Leonard Bernstein's conducting score for his 1989 Deutsche Grammophon recording of Candide, as well as the orchestra material used in that recording, and the manuscripts of Leonard Bernstein at the Library of Congress.

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1971-1980

The Collected Poems
by Stanley Kunitz
PS3521.U7 2000


The National Book Award winner celebrates a life in poetry, sharing his work published and unpublished in this single volume of his life's accomplishment.

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In the Crevice of Time: New and Collected Poems
by Josephine Jacobsen
PS3519.A424 I5 1995

Josephine Jacobsen's distinguished career as poet and writer spans more than six decades, from the publication of her first poem at age eleven to her 1994 American Academy of the Arts Citation, which celebrated her as a recipient of "almost every major poetry award."  In the Crevice of Time brings together 176 new and previously published poems by one of the most accomplished and most widely acclaimed poets of our time.

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1961-1970

Poets on Poetry
by Howard Nemerov
PS324 .N4

...When asked if his work had changed in character or style, Nemerov replied in Poets on Poetry, "In style,. . . for I began and for a long time remained imitative, and poems in my first books . . . show more than traces of admired modern masters—Eliot, Auden, Stevens, [E. E.] Cummings, Yeats."

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The Road Not Taken: a Selection of Frost's Poems
with introduction & commentary by Louis Untermeyer
PS3511.R94 A6 1985

With Louis Untermeyer's biographical introduction and an ongoing commentary that touches upon each poem presented here, this choice of Frost's work gives context to both the life and work of a titan of American literature. Clearly annotated and carefully arranged, The Road Not Taken is also an ideal introduction to this timeless, vitally important poetry.

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1937-1960

Books

Poems: a Selection
by Leonie Adams
PS3501.D285 A6 1954

Adams' Poems: A Selection won the 1954 Bollingen Prize. In a review of the book, Louise Bogan wrote: "Poems such as 'Companions of the Morass,' 'For Harvest,' 'Grapes Making,' and 'The Runner with the Lots' spring from and are indications of a poetic endowment as deep as it is rare."






The Blue Estuaries: Poems, 1923-1968
by Louise Bogan
PS3503.O195 B5 1995

Honored, during the course of her literary career, with almost every major poetry award, Louise Bogan (1898-1970) was the poetry critic for "The New Yorker" for nearly forty years. "The Blue Estuaries" contains her five previous books of verse along with a section of uncollected work, fully representing a unique and distinguished contribution to modern poetry over five decades.

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Scores

The Desert Music
by Steve Reich
text from poems of
William Carlos Williams
M1530 .R45 D4

This hour-long work, commissioned by West German Radio and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, marks a transitional period for Reich. Based in the rhythmic pulse of Music for 18 Musicians, he adds a text by William Carlos Williams (sung by a full chorus), uses the more traditional sounds of a full orchestra (strings and brass are suddenly prominent), and snatches of melody dot the musical canvas here and there. The use of vocals here looks forward to such projects as Different Trains and The Cave. If Reich is trying to encapsulate the grandeur of the American west without falling back on typical "Western" tropes, he does so successfully.

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Phaedra: Dramatic Cantata
by Benjamin Britten, 

words from a verse translation of Racine's Phèdre by Robert Lowell.
M1613 B75 P43

Phaedra Op. 93 is a cantata for mezzo-soprano and orchestra by Benjamin Britten. It was the composer's last vocal work, written in 1975 and first performed by Janet Baker at the Aldeburgh Festival on 16 June 1976. Britten assembled the libretto from parts of a translation of Racine's Phèdre by Robert Lowell. The work takes around 16 minutes to perform.

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