Author(s): Jay Parini
Poetry doesn't matter to most people, observes Jay Parini at the opening of this book. Undeterred, he commences a deeply felt meditation on poetry, its language and meaning, and its power to open minds and transform lives. By the end of the book, Parini has recovered a truth often obscured by our clamorous culture: without poetry, we live only partially, not fully conscious of the possibilities that life affords. Poetry indeed matters.A gifted poet and acclaimed teacher, Parini begins by looking at defences of poetry written over the centuries. He ponders Aristotle, Horace, and Longinus, and moves on through Sidney, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Eliot, Frost, Stevens, and others. Parini examines the importance of the poetic voice and the mysteries of metaphor. He argues that a poet's originality depends on a deep understanding of the traditions of political poetry, nature poetry, and religious poetry.Writing with a casual grace, Parini avoids jargon and makes his case in concise, direct terms: the mind of the poet supplies a light to the minds of others, kindling their imaginations, helping them to live their lives.
"If you are going to tell Jay Parini that poetry doesn't matter, you should probably start working on your debate points now-he's got a lot more." -- Jessie Forand "Burlington Free Press" (06/08/2008)
Jay Parini is an American writer and academic. He is known for novels and poetry, biography and criticism. He graduated from Lafayette College in 1970 and was awarded a doctorate by the University of St. Andrews in 1975. Parini taught at Dartmouth College from 1975 to 1982 and has been on the faculty of Middlebury College since 1982. He is a regular contributor to various journals and newspapers, including The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Guardian. In 1976, he co-founded New England Review with Sydney Lea.