The Grolier Poetry Foundation and Forums Trust 
Will Host a Special Event 
at the
Historic Hooper Lee-Nichols House 
Located at 159 Brattle Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 
on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7pm

This Event Will Feature


Who Will Read from His Book-Length Poem

An Explanation of America

"[An] ambitious and immensely likable long poem . . . a poem which--a rare thing--seems to combine intimacy and authority." ( The New York Times Book Review )

"Wise and compassionate. . . . It is one of the most readable long poems in recent memory, graspable by all."---Kenneth Funsten,  The Los Angeles Times

"I can't imagine anyone who, after reading  An Explanation of America , wouldn't want to return to it again and again."---William H. Pritchard,  Poetry

We have limited tickets available…


and they are selling fast.

If you would like to attend,
purchase your tickets today!

Poet Robert Pinsky
Photo Credit: Eric Antoniou

Robert Pinsky‘s At the Foundling Hospital was nominated for the 2017 National Book Critics Award in poetry. As US Poet Laureate he founded the Favorite Poem Project, featuring the videos at . His “Art of Poetry” EdX videos are at

His best-selling translation The Inferno of Dante received the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Other awards include the Korean Manhae Prize, the Italian Premio Capri and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pen American Center.

 He teaches in the MFA program at Boston University.

About An Explanation of America (1979), Pinsky writes: 

“Forty years after the publication of my second book, people have begun asking me about the sections concerning xenophobia, nativism and the possible rise of fascism in our country. I was not trying to be prophetic, nor do I claim to be. For someone of my generation, my social class and place, these fears about soil-based hatred of strangers were obvious, even commonplace: matters not of prophecy but of observation. I was just trying to write a book-length poem, a kind of experiment in scale, that would consider the country’s nature in terms that might plausibly be addressed to a child. The poem imagines addressing my first child, of about the age I was when I first discovered, along with my patriotism, that dreadful vein in our history and shared character. The negative material, I know, is eerily congruent with our current dilemma. A matter, for me, of understanding, not prophecy.”

The reading begins at 7pm, and will be followed by a book signing and a reception with delicious
hors d'oeuvres, wine, and Prosecco. Doors will open at 6:15pm so that our guests may enjoy refreshments before the reading.

We have an exciting night planned,   a night that honors our legacy of bringing poets and those who love poetry together so as to explore ideas and experience the power of poetry's unifying voice to connect us ever more deeply. This night of celebration and support will benefit the Grolier Poetry Foundation and Forums Trust.


Princeton University Press has generously donated the following books by Robert Pinsky, which will be available for purchase at our event, and in the Book Shop and online, beginning next week: 

An Explanation of America
The Situation of Poetry
Sadness and Happiness

About Princeton University Press:
“Princeton University Press brings scholarly ideas to the world. We publish peer-reviewed books that connect authors and readers across spheres of knowledge to advance and enrich the global conversation.
We embrace the highest standards of scholarship, inclusivity, and diversity in our publishing. In keeping with Princeton University’s commitment to serve the nation and the world, we publish for scholars, students, and engaged readers everywhere.” 

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The Cambridge Historical Society has provided generously discounted rates for the Hooper Lee-Nichols House, making it possible for us to host this historic reading in such a lovely historic venue. These two long-time Cambridge organizations together help preserve the character of Harvard Square.

About the venue: The Hooper-Lee-Nichols House, the headquarters of the Cambridge Historical Society, is one of the oldest houses in Cambridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1685 and transformed into a Georgian mansion in the 1730s, the house is an architectural and social history treasure.
Hooper Lee-Nichols House


"The legend of the Grolier must continue so that poets, readers,
and any who stop by can continue to experience the center of its
magic world, that world inside the walls of the Grolier."
-David Ferry

"The Grolier Poetry Book Shop is the greatest poetry place in the universe. If we love poetry, the Grolier is our temple, agora, cottage, mansion, colosseum, and estate.
Support it! Support it!"
-Donald Hall (1928–2018)

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If you are unable to attend,
but would like to support us, please consider making a donation.

The Grolier Poetry Foundation and Forums Trust is a 501(c)(3) organization. The Foundation, which serves as the anchor for the work of the Grolier, is the tax entity established to preserve our impressive legacy of cultural work. Originally formed as a private operating foundation, we are now transitioning to a public charity, and rely on fundraising activities like support from friends, donors, grants, and events to continue our mission. The Grolier Poetry Book Shop and the Grolier Poetry Press both support the Foundation's mission which is to keep poetry alive and to celebrate the unifying voice of poetry.


May 4, 2019, 7pm
Arrowsmith Book Launch 

Summer 2019, Date TBD
A Celebration for David Ferry, who will read from Ellery Street,
A Grolier Poetry Press Book

Upcoming Readings in the Grolier Winter/ Spring 2019 Series

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019, 7:00 P.M
George Kalogeris

Friday, May 10th, 2019, 7:00 P.M
Raul Zurita and William Rowe, translator