Upcoming Event

Robert Pinsky at the Cambridge Public Library


Proverbs of Limbo: Poems

in conversation with STEPHEN GREENBLATT


June 11, 2024
6:00 PM ET
(Doors at 5:30pm)


Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138


$0.00 (Free RSVP Required) $27.63 (book included)

Harvard Book Store and the Cambridge Public Library welcome ROBERT PINSKY—Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 to 2000, author of At The Foundling Hospital, The Figured Wheel, and The Want Bone, and professor in the graduate creative writing program at Boston University—for a discussion of his new poetry collection Proverbs of Limbo. He will be joined in conversation by STEPHEN GREENBLATT—Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Will in the World and The Swerve


RSVP for free to this event or choose the "Book-Included" ticket to reserve a copy of Proverbs of Limbo and pick it up at the event. Robert Pinsky will sign copies of his new book after the presentation.


About Proverbs of Limbo

Robert Pinsky, one of our most ambitious, inventive, and finely tuned poets, takes an original approach to the fraught, central matter of borders in Proverbs of Limbo, his first new book of poetry in eight years.

In this collection, the poet mines and maps limbal regions: those spaces between differences that can be at once creative and oppressive, enlightening and dark, exciting and fatal. For Pinsky, they include the familiar borders between demographic categories, as well as limbal realities that are more personal—clashing ways of understanding, personal history and world history, health and illness, freedom and compulsion, intimacy and community, personality and culture—all the countless variations of in-between.

The title Proverbs of Limbo tips its hat, at an angle, to the great poet William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. Blake’s jagged, contrary proverbs resist, from within, the binary rights and wrongs of conventional Christianity: “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”; “The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.”

Here, Pinsky embodies a different resistance to different conventions of understanding. “The Buddha,” begins the title poem, “is a liquor store / On a busy corner.”

Praise for Robert Pinsky

"Sadness and happiness, beauty and ugliness, peace and violence—each has its place in Pinsky’s capacious poetry, for its universe is the one in which we all live.” —Troy Jollimore, The Washington Post

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Robert Pinsky
Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky is the author of several books of poetry, including Gulf Music, Jersey Rain, The Want Bone, The Figured Wheel, and At the Foundling Hospital. His bestselling translation The Inferno of Dante sets a modern standard. He was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 to 2000. Among his awards and honors are the William Carlos Williams Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the PEN/Voelcker Award, the Korean Manhae Prize, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the PEN American Center. He teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Boston University.

Photo Credit: Eric Antoniou

Stephen Greenblatt
Stephen Greenblatt

Stephen Greenblatt

Stephen Greenblatt is an American literary critic, theorist, scholar, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He is Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.


Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138

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