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Jay Parini


Things of This World

Reality inheres in particulars, of course, but the problem is so many seem to buzz around us, flash and fade, how can we know which hold a decent quotient of the world, enough to satisfy our wish to find some intimations of the life to come? That tr [...]

Astray In the Suburbs

The old dog, some kind of mongrel, strayed into the town of Clarks Green on a hot Sunday morning in August when nearly everybody was asleep except the children. With its black fur in rattails and its eyes thick with mucus, it did not look well as i [...]

Thomas Mann As Diarist

Diaries: 1918—1939. By Thomas Mann. Harry N. Abrams. $29. 95. As a genre, the diary is by its very nature rooted in paradox. The form pretends to absolute honesty, supposedly representing the author's soul laid bare. One of its other conventions [...]

The Layers of Stanley Kunitz

The Poems of Stanley Kunitz: 1928—1978. Little, Brown. $12.50. In this long-awaited book, we have in one volume the poems of Stanley Kunitz, a poet whose reputation will live securely in the compact elegance of this collection. As Kunitz admits [...]

In the Meadow

Old Guernseys hover in the sun, their brown sides hung from nape to tailbone, a two-pole tent, their legs like switches. Walking in the meadow, we step over dung: the dry flat discs, some wet with midges. Daisies sputter in the heat as we lie down, t [...]

Crow’s Nest

The moon has lost a sock in that dark meadow, and the wind's gone south. I sit here in the silver pre-dawn sky, all soot and shadow, hoarfrost gathering between my toes. I know that nothing's ever lost or gone: it's here today and here again tomorro [...]