On Valentine’s Day for the past few years, former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky has compiled for Slate.com a selection of poems related to love, which were the subject of this MetaFilter post.
For some reason, seeing that post compelled me to go and dig up an interview with Robert Pinsky that I conducted in high school. One of his daughters was a freshman at Concord Academy when I was a senior, and during that year I was the co-editor of the alternative newspaper. The paper got a fair amount of mileage out of the school’s semi-celebrity parents and alums (Laurence Tribe, Queen Noorwe didn’t manage to interview her, but we found her yearbook photo).
The founder of that newspaper, the Concord Grape (get it?), went on to create LibraryThing and the suspiciously voluminous Isidore of Seville. My fellow editor, on the other hand, went on to create Armed & Famous. (I hasten to add that he apparently did an excellent 9/11 documentary at some point along the way. Also Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.)
Anyway, now that I’ve somehow managed to lead this blog entry from Robert Pinsky to a gun-toting LaToya Jackson, let’s get back to Pinsky. So, I interviewed him in May of 1991. I have a vivid memory of setting up my family’s answering machine to record the phone interview. He was extremely friendly and gracious about doing this silly interview (unlike that diva Tribe with his “Get me another glass of Dr. Pepper!” this and his “Ooh! I argue before the Supreme Court! No questions about the Istanbul incident” that), and had some interesting things to say, as you’ll see if you read on.
How and why does the hard drive of my MacBook Pro contain the Microsoft Word 4 document with the text of this ancient interview in it? At some point a few years ago, before my father threw away the only remaining computer in the family that had some ancient relic called a “floppy drive,” I spent an afternoon using it to go through my hundreds of old diskettes and grab a copy of anything personal or interesting. (By the way, I’ve just discovered that Word 2004 has regained the ability to open files created with really old versions, for which some intervening versions required a plugin. Also, does anyone know of a way to run HyperCard stacks under Tiger without Classic?)
Anyway, what follows is an interview with Robert Pinsky, originally published in the Concord Grape in June, 1991. (The introductory paragraph, obviously, is from the old article. And yes, I’m aware that I did not know how to spell “Ashbery.” Or “nostalgic.”)