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Jay Parini (born 1948) is an Americanmarker writer and academic. He is known for novels and poetry, biography and criticism.

He was born in Pittston, Pennsylvaniamarker, and brought up in Scranton, Pennsylvaniamarker. He graduated from Lafayette Collegemarker in 1970. He was awarded a doctorate by the University of St. Andrewsmarker in 1975. He taught at Dartmouth Collegemarker from 1975 to 1982. He has taught at Middlebury Collegemarker since 1982. He is married to the writer and psychologist Devon Jersild. They have three sons.

He is a regular contributor to various journals and newspapers, including The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Guardian (U.K.). In 1976, he co-founded New England Review with Sydney Lea. In 2005, he was appointed literary executor for author Gore Vidal.

Bibliographic Works

  • Singing in Time (1972) poems
  • Theodore Roethke, an American Romantic (1979 - Criticism)
  • The Love Run (1980) novel
  • Anthracite Country (1982) poems
  • Bread Loaf Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (1985) editor with Robert Pack and Sydney Lea
  • The Patch Boys (1986) novel
  • An Invitation to Poetry (1987)
  • The Bread Loaf Anthology of Contemporary American Short Stories (1987) editor with Robert Pack
  • A Vermont Christmas (1988)
  • Town Life (1988) poems
  • The Bread Loaf Anthology of Contemporary American Essays (1989) editor with Robert Pack
  • The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Last Year (1990)
  • Richard Eberhart, New and Selected Poems 1930 – 1990 (1990) editor
  • Writers On Writing (1991) with Robert Pack
  • Bay of Arrows (1992) novel
  • Gore Vidal: Writer Against the Grain (1992) editor
  • Poems for a Small Planet: Contemporary American Nature Poetry (1993) editor with Robert Pack
  • Columbia History of American Poetry (1994), editor
  • Columbia Anthology of American Poetry (1995), editor
  • John Steinbeck (1995) biography
  • American Identities: Contemporary Multicultural Voices (1996) editor with Robert Pack
  • Benjamin's Crossing (1996) novel
  • Touchstones : American Poets on a Favorite Poem (1996) editor with Robert Pack
  • Some Necessary Angels: Essays on Literature and Politics (1997) essays
  • Beyond "The Godfather" : Italian American Writers on the Real Italian American Experience (1997) editor with A. Kenneth Ciongoli
  • House of Days (1998) poems
  • The Norton Book of American Autobiography (1998) editor
  • Introspections : American Poets on One of Their Own Poems (1998) editor with Robert Pack
  • Robert Frost: A Life (1999)
  • American Writers (2000) editor, yearly volumes
  • American Writers Classics I (2002), II (2004)
  • The Apprentice Lover (2002) novel
  • British Writers (2002) editor, yearly
  • Contemporary Poetry Of New England (2002) editor with Robert Pack
  • Passage to Liberty: The Story of Italian Immigration and the Rebirth of America (2002) with A. Kenneth Ciongoli
  • British Writers Classics (2003) editor
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature (2004) editor
  • World Writers in English (2003) editor
  • Anthony Quinn's Eye (2004) with Donald Kuspit and Tom Roberts
  • One Matchless Time: A Life of William Faulkner (2004)
  • The Art of Teaching (2005)
  • The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems (2005) poems
  • The Wadsworth Anthology of Poetry (2005), editor
  • Why Poetry Matters (2008), criticism
  • Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America (2008), criticism


  1. Detail from a Copy of The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Last Year' published in 1990 by Harper Collins (UK) with an ISBN 0 00 223910 8

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