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The Art of Subtraction New and Selected Poems, by Jay Parini

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The Art of Subtraction New and Selected Poems, by Jay Parini

Parini - The Art of Subtraction - Cover.jpg
Parini - The Art of Subtraction - Cover.jpg

The Art of Subtraction New and Selected Poems, by Jay Parini

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An acclaimed American poet, Jay Parini is widely recognized for his ability to confront modern issues in a variety of forms, while adding a highly musical sense of phrasing and a relentless sense of humor. Parini, as seen in his previous works of poetry—Anthracite Country (1982), Town Life (1988), andHouse of Days (1998)—has created a remarkable voice of his own. The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems is a testament to Parini's unique poetic style and constantly evolving vision.

A compilation of fifty-nine new poems and forty-three from previous collections, The Art of Subtraction demonstrates Parini's wide range of poetic registers. One sequence of poems responds to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Others deal with personal themes and continue Parini's ongoing exploration of the relationship between language and mind. The poems drawn from previous collections have been carefully chosen to represent the breadth of his work and of his experience as an American poet over the course of his career.


From Booklist

Parini's new poems, which constitute most of this flinty and satisfying collection, are edgy, angry, and satirical, cleansing in their ire, cathartic in their dark humor. Taut and unsettling, these works reflect the mental state of siege engendered by September 11 and the war in Iraq, manifest as pervasive feelings of helplessness, insignificance, and skepticism, the out-of-kilter sensation of nightmares brought to waking life. The poet, terse and to the point, addresses the reader directly in simple and familiar words that form poems as finely balanced and earthy as stacked stone walls. Parini writes with imagination and verisimilitude about nature, but he is most concerned with the doings of humankind, war and politics, our towers and power stations, the enormity of our lies, the indifference we cultivate as a form of self-protection. For Parini, a high school "is a kind of furnace," with the students as its fuel, and a family reunion is an invasion. His bracing new works are accompanied by key selections from The Anthracite Country (1982), Town Life (1988), and House of Days (1998). Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Jay Parini is Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College, Vermont. His six novels also include Benjamins Crossing and The Apprentice Lover. His volumes of poetry include The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems. In addition to biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost and William Faulkner, he has written a volume of essays on literature and politics, as well as The Art of Teaching. He edited the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature and writes regularly for the Guardian and other publications.