In Anthracite Country

I pride myself on knowing the poetry of Pennsylvania — that is the poets who take on the landscape and people of my homestate.  So I was a bit embarrassed when I found Anthracite Country by Jay Parini, a gem of a poetry book resting on the bookshelves of my local library.  I had read Parini’s  criticism, but not his poetry, and I really enjoyed this collection.  In this slim volume of poems, Parini tackles class issues, labor history, and even religion.  And of course, as the title of the book suggests, every poem is set in the Anthracite coal region of Eastern Pennsylvania.  In essence, Parini’s book is about the importance of memory, and the way that memory can play an important part in the literature of witness. 


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