|Born||April 2, 1948 (age 65)
|Alma mater||Lafayette College
University of St. Andrews
Jay Parini (born April 2, 1948) is an American writer and academic. He is known for novels and poetry, biography and criticism.
Parini was born in Pittston, Pennsylvania, and brought up in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Lafayette College in 1970 and was awarded a doctorate by the University of St. Andrews in 1975.
Parini was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1993. He was the Fowler Hamilton Fellow at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1993–1994. He was a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of London in 2005–2006.
Parini's books of poetry include Anthracite Country (1982), Town Life (1988), House of Days (1998), and The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems (2005).
Parini has written eight novels, many of which are about the lives of literary icons, and narratives from his own personal life.
Parini's historical novel Benjamin's Crossing was a New York Times Notable Book of the year in 1996. It is about the Jewish critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, and his escape over the Pyrenees from Nazi occupied France into Spain.
Parini's acclaimed biography Robert Frost: A Life won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for best non-fiction book of the year in 2000. He has also written notable biographies of John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, and Jesus.
He is currently writing a biography of his longtime friend, the late Gore Vidal, which The New York Times said will be published in 2015. Parini was in the 2013 documentary film Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia.
He has published non-fiction books on a variety of subjects, including Some Necessary Angels: Essays on Literature and Politics (1997), The Art of Teaching (2005), Why Poetry Matters (2008), and Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America (2008).
Parini is a regular contributor to various journals, websites and newspapers, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, CNN, The New York Times, and The Guardian (U.K.). He has also written for GQ, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and Salon.com. He is a frequent commentator on VPR and NPR.
Iraq War Protest
In 2003, Parini along with Julia Alvarez and Galway Kinnell were invited to read their poetry at the White House. However, First Lady Laura Bush canceled the event after learning the poets were intending to protest against the Iraq War. Noelia Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Bush said: “While Mrs. Bush respects the right of all Americans to express their opinions, she, too, has opinions and believes it would be inappropriate to turn a literary event into a political forum.” Parini was disgusted by this decision: "For poets to remain silent at a time of national crisis is unconscionable," he said. Fellow poet Julia Alvarez added: "Why be afraid of us, Mrs. Bush? You're married to a scarier fellow." Parini said it was naive for organizers to think he and other poets would check their politics at the door of an event sponsored by the first lady. In objection to Mrs. Bush's decision, Parini organized a group referred to as "Poets Against the War," who on February 16, 2003, held a reading at the Congregational Church in Manchester, Vermont, called "A Poetry Reading in Honor of the Right to Protest as a Patriotic and Historical Tradition." The event was attended by 600 people, and broadcast nationally on C-SPAN.
In 2010, Parini and the late Christopher Hitchens debated religion, the invasion of Iraq, and the war on terror at the Pages & Places Book Festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania. More than 2,000 people attended the event.
- VPR Regular Commentator
- NPR Regular Commentator
- Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal in Conversation with Jay Parini. (1991)
- Talk of the Nation: What It Means To Be American (July 3, 1997)
- C-SPAN: Booknotes: Jay Parini on Robert Frost. (1999)
- American Masters: The Education of Gore Vidal (2003) (aired in the US on PBS)
- Gore Vidal and Jay Parini at the 92Y. (November 9, 2006)
- Talk of the Nation (May 29, 2007)
- The Book Show: Parini on The Last Station (October 11, 2007)
- On Point with Tom Ashbrook: Books That Changed America. (December 22, 2008)
- All Things Considered (June 3 and June 4, 2008)
- Talk of the Nation: (July 3, 2008)
- Radio National: Why Poetry Matters (July 31, 2008)
- Book TV: Jay Parini Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America (December 8, 2008)
- 92Y: Gore Vidal in conversation with Jay Parini (October 20, 2009)
- C-SPAN: Writer Against the Grain: Gore Vidal in conversation with Jay Parini at the Key West Literary Seminar (audio, 59:09) (2009)
- BBC Radio: Parini discusses the life and death of Herman Melville (January 27, 2011)
- PBS Newshour: Parini speaks with Jeffrey Brown (journalist) (August 1, 2012)
- Ever to Excel (2012 documentary film)
- C-SPAN: Biographies and the Limits of Objectivity (January 13, 2013)
- UCTV: Books That Changed America (October 10, 2013)
- Public Radio International: Robert Frost took the fork to stardom (November 26, 2013)
- Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia. (2013 documentary film)
- MSNBC: Morning Joe: Inside the Gospel narrative. (December 13, 2013)
- The Alan Colmes Show: Who was Jesus anyway? (December 17, 2013)
- On Point with Tom Ashbrook: A Religious And Historical Take On Jesus. (December 17, 2013)
- PBS Newshour: Writer Jay Parini considers how people experience God through the story of Jesus. (December 25, 2013)
In 1993, Parini was awarded a Guggenheim. His novel Benjamin's Crossing was a New York Times Notable Book of the year in 1996. Parini's Robert Frost: A Life won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for best non-fiction book of the year in 2000. He has received honorary degrees from Lafayette College and the University of Scranton.
- 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: A Biography. (1995)
- 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. (2005)
- The Art of Teaching. (2005) criticism
- 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
- The Passages of H.M. (2011), novel about Herman Melville
- Jesus: The Human Face of God.(2013) biography
- Conversations with Jay Parini (2014) edited by Michael Lackey
- Jay Parini (2010-03-24). "Jay Parini from HarperCollins Publishers". Harpercollins.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- [dead link]
- "Collegium Ralstonianum apud Savannenses - Home". Ralston.ac. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- "The Last Station (2009)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- Noted in The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Last Year, Harper Collins (UK), 1990, ISBN 0-00-223910-8
- Official website
- Jay Parini: Vermont offers cozy sense of community for culture
- Jay Parini's Listing in the Internet Movie Database
- Guardian Profile of Jay Parini
- Bookslut interview with Jay Parini
- Jay Parini's Middlebury College Profile
- Audio: Jay Parini reads "Precepts" from The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation
- Booknotes interview with Parini on Robert Frost: A Life, September 12, 1999.