Some Necessary Angels: Essays on Writing and Politics

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Columbia University Press, 1997 - 272 pages
Jay Parini presents the best of his prose - essays, meditations, and memoirs, many published here for the first time. Here too are personal stories of living in small towns, writing amid the bustle of cafes and restaurants, and seasons on Italy's Amalfi coast. With characteristically sharp wit, Parini confronts the question of productivity that plagues writers (including himself): Are writers who churn out books "genuine" writers? If not, how does one explain the legendary tales of sweat and blood, the Balzacs and Dickenses who populate literary history? In some of his essays on individual poets, Parini celebrates the visionary sensibility of William Blake and its influence on Theodore Roethke; illuminates the powerfully evocative theme of Ireland in the poetry of Seamus Heaney; and offers close readings of a variety of modern and contemporary poets, from Robert Frost to Charles Wright.
 

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SOME NECESSARY ANGELS: Essays on Writing and Politics

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Parini is an accomplished novelist (Benjamin's Crossing, p. 410, etc.), poet, biographer, and critic, so it is no surprise that these essays roam all over the literary map. In fact, this volume feels ... Read full review

Some necessary angels: essays on writing and politics

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Typical of such gatherings, these previously published essays deal in part with writers the author admires (such as Blake, Frost, Roethke, and Heaney) and with mentors who personally affected his ... Read full review

Contents

Mentors
19
Amalfi Days
25
My Life in Baseball
33
Writing in Restaurants
39
Poetry and the Devout Life
45
Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man
59
When Everything Comes to One
75
Robert Frost
95
The Lessons of Theory
203
The Imagination of Politics
215
Literary Theory and the Culture of Creative Writing
231
Writing Biographies Versus Writing
241
Poetry and Silence
257
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
271
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Jay Parini is Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College. A former Guggenheim Fellow and visiting fellow at Christ Church College, Oxford, Parini has published four volumes of poetry, five novels (including The Last Station and Benjamin's Crossing), a critical study of Theodore Roethke, and biographies of John Steinbeck and Robert Frost. The latter won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award for the best work of nonfiction in 1999. He has also edited numerous volumes, including The Norton Anthology of American Autobiography, The Columbia Anthology of American Poetry, and The Columbia History of American Poetry.

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