Several years later I discovered the same delight in the writings of a very different sort of poet, Robert Frost:. Frost talked about his views of life in ways that particularly struck me. I associated with what he said, and that is an important key to enjoying poetry.
Robinson Jeffers: The Dimensions of a Poet
In a very somber way I was emotionally conscious that the poet was often dealing with the opposition I sometimes felt. The fact that each poet in these contrasting moods wrote words to the heart of something silly or a dilemma of personal growth brought their works into my life in a significant way.
John A. As the mind and spirit are fed by well chosen reading, comfort, peace and understanding come to the soul.
Those who have not tried it, have missed a keen and easily accessible joy. Poetry, from ancient to modern, can be a great source of that joy to anyone who peruses enough to find pleasure in words. To read and enjoy it is to reach deeper into life. The essays represent a range of critical points of entry - some are on the cutting-edge of criticism and break new ground; others attempt to place Jeffers in the established perspectives of Western civilization's Christian Humanism and American poetry's landscape-centered mysticism.
Contents 1. Rothman 7. Notes Includes bibliographical references. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Monash University Library.
Open to the public ; None of your libraries hold this item. Found at these bookshops Searching - please wait We were unable to find this edition in any bookshop we are able to search. A year later he returned to Europe and at the University of Zurich began studying philosophy, Old English, French literary history, Dante, Spanish literature and the history of the Roman Empire.
In , deciding that medicine would leave him too little time to write, he entered the University of Washington, where he studied forestry until Married to a well-to-do lawyer, Una carried on a love affair with Jeffers until, after seven years of rumour and scandal, she divorced her husband and married Jeffers.
Re-living the apocalypse: Robinson Jeffers’ Medea | SpringerLink
The two planned to move to Europe where Jeffers could write, but the outbreak of the First World War led them to move up the coast to Carmel instead. As soon as they arrived, Jeffers felt he had found the place about which he would write. On their land overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Carmel Point, Jeffers began a daily pattern which would hardly vary for many years: he wrote every morning, quarried stone in the afternoon for their granite house and forty-foot stone tower, took walks with Una and their twin boys in the late afternoon, and read Shakespeare and other literature aloud to the family in the evening.
Jeffers lived with no telephone, no electricity and no heat but for the heat from a Franklin stove and fireplaces. Not until the s did Jeffers have electricity brought to the house. Jeffers' first volumes to gain widespread attention were Tamar and Other Poems, published in , and Roan Stallion, published in Within three years, his work appeared in eight anthologies.
Jeffers' work was widely discussed, his books were bestsellers, and he was well paid for his writing. Soon Jeffers was even on the cover of Time magazine. Jeffers' time at the pinnacle of American letters did not last long.
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His relegating of humanity and human consciousness to the importance of basalt and lichen offended socially progressive sensibilities of the s. Jeffers' opposition to American involvement in the Second World War or in any war and his portrayal of all the leaders—Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, Hitler, Mussolini—as equally evil in leading their people to war offended many. Religious conservatives condemned Jeffers' portrayal of Jesus and his anti-Christian stance; for Jeffers, Jesus and Christianity turn people away from the beauty of the physical world, which is wrong because the beauty of the physical world is God, or at least the manifestation of God, and deserves our worship.
Moralists condemned Jeffers' acceptance of violence as an essential aspect of life, and they condemned Jeffers' use of sexual acts , especially his use of incest to illustrate the human obsession with humans and human things to the exclusion of the beauty of the greater outside world. Yet Jeffers has always had fervent admirers and a general readership.
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Jeffers' Selected Poetry of has sold continuously in many reprintings; his Selected Poems of continues to sell well. Jeffers articulates ideas that readers outside the academy and outside literary circles know to be vitally important: the non-human world is complex, interactive, conscious, a whole; every aspect of the non-human world is beautiful, and can lead people to a greater understanding of God and of our temporary and insignificant position in the cosmos; our scientific and our religious ways of knowing have serious flaws.
Jeffers presents his ideas in memorable narratives, characterizations, images and metaphors which anyone, not just experienced readers of poetry, can understand. What is the right relationship between nature and humans? Deriving ideas from Lucretius, Herodotus, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, his four main philosophical pillars, Jeffers offers a series of answers in direct opposition to the prevailing Western belief that 'no man is an island, entire of itself': we should turn from our 'incestuous' involvement with each other in our corrupt 'communal' life, and pay attention to nature.
The problem with humanity, Jeffers says, is our self-absorption.
He describes how we might look to future ages:. What men have we to show them? The solution for Jeffers is to turn to permanent, natural things. Scraping', Jeffers says to 'Shake the dust from your hair', and he lists various elements of the landscape that are 'real' and more worthy of observation: a mountain sea-coast, lean cows which 'drift high up the bronze hill', a 'heavy-necked plough team', gulls, rock, 'two riders of tired horses' on a cloudy ridge, topaz-eyed hawks, and more.
Though city dwellers can't very easily lean on rocks and contemplate hawks soaring, they still partake of the permanent reality because we all have bodies, and we eat: 'Broad wagons before sunrise bring food into the city from the open farms, and the people are fed.