Three-time U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky reads his poetry to improvised jazz at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre in his hometown of Long Branch, New Jersey. State of the Arts also takes a tour ’round his old neighborhood with Pinsky, who says all his poetry started here in this New Jersey shore town. Pinsky says he only became a poet after it became clear he wouldn’t make it as a musician – in fact, he was voted “Most Musical Boy” in high school. With his PoemJazz performances, he explores the musicality of the spoken word and improvises with his fellow players. Robert Pinsky performed with bassist Ben Allison and guitarist Steve Cardenas. Featured in the story are excerpts from “Creole,” a poem about Long Branch, and “Street Music.” Also see Robert Pinsky’s full performance of “The Green Piano.”

Produced by Susan Wallner.