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Poetry in America LIVE: Robert Pinsky’s “Shirt”

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 @ 7:30PM

Please note: This event has been postponed. 


Poetry in America, the half-hour series produced by Verse Video Education and presented by WGBH, airing nationally on PBS, offers viewers a fully immersive experience in hearing, reading, and discussing American poems. Each episode gathers distinguished interpreters from all walks of life, including poets, athletes, politicians, musicians, architects, scientists, actors, entrepreneurs, and citizens of all ages, to explore unforgettable American works with host and Harvard English professor Elisa New. On May 21, this live event at The Sheen Center will focus on former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s poem “Shirt,” a poem that attempts to locate a common object in history, to see it both as a material presence and as a ghostly embodiment of invisible forces and lives. Poetry in America LIVE will feature a discussion with guests, including Pinsky, who will read from his work during the show, shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, and a special musical guest Ben Allison, who will also perform during the evening.

Tickets: $25/$35/$45

Robert Pinsky is a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at Boston University. He is the author of twenty books, including a recent volume of poems At the Foundling Hospital, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award. Pinsky’s translation of The Inferno of Dante Alighieri received The Los Angeles Times Book Award in poetry. His volume of poetry The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 was a Pulitzer Prize nominee and received the Lenore Marshall Award. As Poet Laureate of the United States (1997-2000), Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project, in which thousands of Americans—of varying backgrounds, all ages, and from every state—shared their favorite poems. He is the only member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters to have appeared on both The Simpsons and The Colbert Report

It can certainly be said that Stuart Weitzman’s passion for design has been a lifelong pursuit: he began working at his father’s Massachusetts shoe factory while still in college. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Weitzman applied himself to the industry with laserlike focus, eventually building the globally-renowned company that bears his name. Today, his shoes dominate the red carpet events and are worn by loyal celebrity fans like Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Gigi Hadid, and by millions of women who buy them in over 75 countries around the world. Weitzman approaches his other endeavors with equal commitment: he shares his free time with his wife Jane and their two daughters, aiding a number of philanthropic causes close to their hearts, with mentoring students on their budding entrepreneurial aspirations at his Alma Mater and other institutions and with his continuing participation in sports, including ping-pong. If you’ve got a paddle, he’ll welcome the challenge.


With a career that spans over 30 years, bassist/composer Ben Allison has developed his own instantly identifiable sound, solidifying an international reputation as one of the leading voices of his generation. Known for his inspired arrangements, inventive grooves and hummable melodies, Ben draws from the jazz tradition and a range of influences from rock and folk to 20th century classical and world music, seamlessly blending them into a cinematic, cohesive whole.

With his groups The Ben Allison Band, Think Free, The Easy Way Trio, Peace Pipe, and Medicine Wheel, Ben has toured extensively throughout the world, winning fans and building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.

Recent performance highlights include Carnegie Hall (New York City), Teatro Manzoni (Milan, Italy), Thatro Roberto Cantoral (Mexico City, Mexico), Central Park’s SummerStage (New York, NY), Auditório Ibirapuera (Sao Paulo, Brazil), The Capitol Theater (Salt Lake City, NV), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles, CA) and Queen Elizabeth Hall (London, England).

Elisa New is the Creator and Host of Poetry in America, the Director of Verse Video Education, and the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University, where she teaches courses in classic American literature from the Puritans through the present day. 
Since 2013, New has been producing educational materials on American poetry for tens of thousands of global learners of all ages. New created Poetry in America, a public television series  and educational initiative, to encourage engagement with American poetry beyond the art’s existing academic audience. Poetry in America guest interpreters have included Shaquille O’Neal, Bono, Cynthia Nixon, Nas, Joe Biden, Herbie Hancock, Elena Kagan, Robert Pinsky, Sonia Sanchez, Bill Clinton, John McCain, Li-Young Lee, Samantha Power, exonerated prisoners, clergy members, pickup basketball players, young campers at a wildlife preserve, and many more.
New is the author of The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry (Cambridge University Press,  1992); The Line’s Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight (Harvard University Press, 1999); Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family’s Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore: A Memoir in Five Generations (Basic Books, 2009); and New England Beyond Criticism: In Defense of America’s First Literature, A Wiley Blackwell Manifesto (Wiley Blackwell 2014). Her current book project is How to Read American Poetry, a companion text to the various projects embraced by the multi-platform Poetry in America initiative, to be published by Wiley Blackwell.

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The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture
18 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
Office: (212) 219-3132

© The Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Center, Inc. 2019 - The Sheen center is the arts center of the archdiocese of new york