- Hardcover: 248 pages
- Publisher: Beacon Press (March 29, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807030139
- ISBN-13: 978-0807030134
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,257,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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New and Collected Poems: 1975-2015 Hardcover – March 29, 2016
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Praise for Jay Parini
“Jay Parini is one of those writers who can do anything.”
—Stacy Schiff, New York Times Book Review
“His poems are fully imagined and highly accomplished. He never fails to astonish with his grace and wisdom.”
“Jay Parini brings to the current poetic scene a classical sense of order. His impeccable poems burn with the tension between clearheaded intelligence and basic empathy with the human condition.”
“This is keen-eyed, thoughtful, artful yet unaffected poetry. I am struck by the honesty of Jay Parini’s desires and ignorances—his forthright longing for transcendence, his forthright fear that it may not happen.”
“Jay Parini expresses the best in American poetry.”
“Warm, accepting, peacemaking poems, with sudden jumps of articulate delight in them...The [poems] abound in grace—grace of attitude, grace of language.”
Praise for New and Collected Poems: 1975-2015
“[Parini] always leaves room for small delights or for glorious surprises.”
—Christian Science Monitor
“Parini is truly a man of letters. He is a biographer of Gore Vidal, William Faulkner, and Robert Frost, among other writers; a poet; and a novelist whose subjects include Herman Melville in The Passages of H.M. (2010). For this collection, he explains, he selected ‘poems written in the past forty years that I wish to stand by,’ works from The Art of Subtraction (2005), House of Days (1998), Town Life (1988), and Anthracite Country (1982). But first readers will discover a set of new poems under the title ‘West Mountain Epilogue.’ In these supple, straight-ahead lyrics, Parini evokes a strong sense of place as he remembers the Pennsylvania of his youth and his ‘very poor’ grandmother who lived so richly on a ‘tiny farm’ in Pennsylvania with her chickens: ‘I used to watch her scattering the grain / like John D. Rockefeller scattered dimes.’ The title poem spotlights the grim truth about Scranton’s ‘soot-rain,’ ‘coal dust,’ ‘white plastic trash,’ and ‘redbrick buildings with their broken teeth,’ while Parini also celebrates ‘Lackawanna light.’ Parini describes snow softening harsh terrain, sleeping outdoors as a boy, innocence, and hope, and he writes ruefully about our present predicaments, in poems such as ‘Some Effects of Global Warming in Lackawanna County.’ He also prophesies: ‘The poetry of tomorrow will not be pretty.’ As for now, Parini offers graceful and wry spiritual reflections in a number of prayerful poems, including ‘Do Lord Remember’ and ‘Blessings.’”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist Online
“Admired master of many genres, including novels, biographies, and essays, it is in his poetry that I’ve always felt Jay Parini comes into his own, using his astonishing and wide-ranging talent to mine the deeper ground. In his poetry, we get the full strength of all we admire in this writer: the springs of his lyricism, his keen eye for detail, his absorbing and compassionate curiosity about people and places, an ability to listen and capture the tone of our times, and moral imagination and spiritual yearning that delivers us into a larger way of seeing and being. New and Collected Poems gathers together four decades of work: we follow him from his childhood in coal country to his full maturity in the Green Mountains, a journey that is a pilgrimage to the waters and watering place of his being, and ours. It’s the book I’ve always wanted from this author, the one I will read, reread, and give as a gift to others who care about literature that matters and will endure.”
—Julia Alvarez, author of novels, short stories, nonfiction, memoir, including In the Time of the Butterflies, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, and A Wedding In Haiti, as well as several books of poetry, most recently, The Woman I Kept to Myself
About the Author
Jay Parini is a poet, novelist, biographer, and critic. His five books of poetry include Anthracite Country and House of Days. He has written eight novels, including Benjamin’s Crossing, The Apprentice Lover, The Passages of H.M., and The Last Station—the last was made into an Academy Award-nominated film starring Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer. Parini has written biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, William Faulkner, and, most recently, Gore Vidal. His nonfiction works include Jesus: The Human Face of God, Why Poetry Matters, and Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America.
Top customer reviews
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This is the best book by a poet not known to me that I've found in twenty years. Some of the poems could be called "formal" in rhyme and meter, and some not. But they are all spare, beautifully crafted and thoughtful. None of them seem contrived or made up, if that makes any sense. Many are grounded in the natural world, both in imagery and meaning, while some drift into "civilization" and even politics. But they all read like music to me, as if made by someone who was not just writing them but hearing them. He seems honest and sincere, and a man of deep feelings. I think I'm most encouraged that the ones I like the best are among the newest.
These are beautiful, moving poems, and a great gift to anyone who cares about poetry. For me to find them at this point in my life (I'm sixty) has been a godsend.
A few of my favorites:
"In the Library After Hours" in which Mrs. Willoughby dusts the books and "When doors are locked, you hear her talking / loudly to the authors. Why, she wonders, / did they choose to spend their lives like this?"
"The Lost Poems"—the ones that ". . . came and went / as I stepped awkwardly into a bath / or looked around me on the gravel path / or turned my back toward a wall of sleep."
"Midrash" where God ". . . is singing without words / in brilliant passages"
"Blessings" for a childhood friend "that summer when we prayed by diving from a cliff / on Sunday mornings in the church / of mud and pebbles, foam and moss."
"Fish-Eye View" about reincarnation: "One girl who favored woolen sweaters / has become a moth in her own closet."
"The Art of Subtraction" where the poet "pared down the dictionary" and found "Ancillary parts of speech / seemed pointless and could go to hell."
"Who Owns the Land?" offers answers from the animals, such as "Not I, the fox . . . I borrow time / I burrow and I bend to every season. / I will come and go, like you—and you."
"Grandmother in Heaven": You'll have to read this one yourself. I can't do it any justice by singling out a few lines.
"Sleepers" with the poet in bed, lover hanging onto him ". . . as if / the scalloped ocean of your dreams were much / too much to bear alone . . ." What is not to love about those lines?
And, finally, a wish of many writers, including poets like me with day jobs, these lines from "Passing Through Vermont on Three Martinis": "He vows to quit his salaried position / one fine day, returning to this spot / to sip forever as the mountains rise."