Jay Parini—poet, novelist and biographer of Faulkner, Steinbeck, and Frost—was born in 1948 in Pittston, Pennsylvania. He attended West Scranton High School and graduated from Lafayette College in 1970, having taken his junior year abroad at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He went back to St. Andrews after graduation and stayed there until taking his PhD in 1975. While a graduate student in Scotland he published his first book of poems, Singing in Time (1972) and began contributing essays and reviews to various journals, such as Lines Review and Scottish International .
Parini taught at Dartmouth College from 1975 to 1982. During that period, he published Theodore Roethke: An American Romantic (1979), The Love Run (1980), his first novel, and Anthracite Country (1982), another volume of poetry. Parini co-founded New England Review in 1976.
In 1982 he moved to Middlebury College, where he is the Axinn Professor of English and continues to write poetry, fiction and biographies. His John Steinbeck: A Biography appeared in 1995. Parini's Robert Frost: A Life (2000) won the Chicago Tribune-Heartland Award for the best work of non-fiction for that year. His biography of William Faulkner, One Matchless Time , was published in 2004.
His awards include honorary doctorates from Lafayette College and the University of Scranton, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Italian-American Foundation, and the Hale Award for Literature.
He is married to Devon Jersild, a writer. They live with their three sons in Weybridge, Vermont.
Additional Books by Jay Parini: His recent books include a textbook, An Invitation to Poetry (1988), Town Life (1988), The Patch Boys (1986), The Last Station (1990), Bay of Arrows (1992), Benjamin's Crossing (1997) and The Apprentice Lover (2002). Some Necessary Angels and House of Days appeared in 1998. The Art of Teaching appeared in January of 2005 and The Art of Subtraction: New and Selected Poems in April of 2005.
Parini has edited many books, including The Columbia History of American Poetry (1993), The Columbia Anthology of American Poetry (1995), The Norton Book of American Autobiography (March 1999) and The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature (2003). His poems, articles and reviews appear regularly in such journals as The Atlantic , The New Yorker , Harper's , Poetry , The Nation , The New York Times Book Review , Times Literary Supplement , The Guardian and The Chronicle of Higher Education .
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, December 6, 2013