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House of Days

In House of Days, his fourth collection of poems, Jay Parini moves beyond his earlier work to address the environmental and spiritual crises that afflict us in the late twentieth century. The book moves from “Nature Revisited,” an elegiac sequence of poems about the ontological status of nature itself, to the title sequence, “House of Days,” which might be thought of as the poet’s field notes as he moves through a season, month by month. “The Ruined House,” Part III, is an autobiographical sequence that revisits scenes from Anthracite Country (1982), Parini’s acclaimed second volume of verse. From there, Parini moves through a series of spiritual explorations in “Another Kingdom.” And in a highly inventive final sequence, “Reading Emerson in My Forty-Seventh Summer,” Parini meditates on many of the great themes of Emerson–the quintessential American visionary–often blending his own language with quotations from Emerson. In all, House of Days represents a major development in the richly varied career of this hugely accomplished poet, novelist, and biographer.

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