Jersey Rain Poems

Robert Pinsky

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

64 Pages



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The complex yet intimate poems in Jersey Rain denote a new, strong, lyrical stage of Robert Pinsky's work. Taken together, these poems comprise a sweeping and embattled meditation on the themes of a life guided by Hermes: deity of music and deception, escort of the dead, inventor of instruments, brilliant messenger, and trickster of heaven.


Praise for Jersey Rain

"Poise and intellect do not preclude passion . . . in this ravishing and unusually revealing collection . . . Life changes shape and intent in Pinsky's poems, like the gods and goddesses of old, and his chronicling of its metamorphoses is grace incarnate."—Booklist

"With lavish technical gifts, a discriminating civic intelligence, and an impish relish for what goes against the solemnities of a lot of contemporary verse, Pinsky has given us one of the outstanding bodies of work in English-language poetry."—Justin Quinn, The Boston Book Review

"The poetic mode of Jersey Rain is reflective, full of pathos for the human condition, and rich in its emotional scope . . . Pinsky's poems remind us that . . . poetry is a tool for living."—David Clippinger, Harvard Review

"Jersey Rain finds the poet in a reflective mode, reconsidering those elements of the past that have played an important part in his formation and development . . . If Jersey Rain's subject matter is serious, this is counter-balanced by Pinsky's obvious love of words and the joy he takes in playing with language and form. Thus, for all the importance he ascribes to poetry, he manages never to belabor the poems by appearing to take himself too seriously. The reinvigoration of language is surely one of the jobs of poetry, and Pinsky rises to this challenge with enthusiasm, often using uncommon or unexpected words that may have fallen out of general use . . . Such choices are surprising but always seem to provide the poems with the perfect word for the occasion rather than being mere 'poetic' flourishes. His facility with form, too, is inventive: the poems never appear traditional, in the pejorative sense, but instead they feel as if they simply are as they ought to be, in whatever mix of free and formal verse they resolve themselves."—J. P. Nosbaum, Poetry Wales

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Robert Pinsky

  • A former Poet Laureate of the United States, Robert Pinsky was born and raised in Long Branch, New Jersey. He teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University and has also taught at the University of California at Berkeley. His books include History of My Heart: Poems, The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide, Jersey Rain: Poems, and The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems, 1966-1996.

  • Robert Pinsky Juliet van Otteren
    Robert Pinsky