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The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers: Volume Three: 1939-1962

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Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) is not only the greatest poet that California (and indeed the American West) has produced but a major poet of the twentieth century who occupies a prominent place in the tradition of American prophetic poetry. Jeffers consciously set himself apart from the poetry of his generation—by physical isolation at his home in Carmel, by his unusual poeti Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) is not only the greatest poet that California (and indeed the American West) has produced but a major poet of the twentieth century who occupies a prominent place in the tradition of American prophetic poetry. Jeffers consciously set himself apart from the poetry of his generation—by physical isolation at his home in Carmel, by his unusual poetic form, and by his stance as an "anti-modernist." Yet his work represents a profound, and profoundly original, artistic response to problems that shaped modernist poetry and that still perplex poets today; how to reconcile scientific and artistic discourses and modes of vision; how to connect present-day experience to myths perceived as lying at the origins of human culture; how to renew the poetic language and how (or whether) to present art's claim to moral, spiritual, or epistemological seriousness within representations of modern phenomena. For Jeffers, as for no other important modern American poet, there has never been a collected poems, not even a truly representative selected poems—the current Selected Poetry, first published in 1938, contains no work from the last three volumes published during Jeffers' lifetime or from his posthumous volume. Now, for the first time, all of Jeffers' completed poems, both published and unpublished, are presented in a single, comprehensive, and textually authoritative edition. The first three volumes of this four-volume work, will present chronologically all of Jeffers' published work from 1920 to 1963. The present volume consists of poems written from 1939 to Jeffers' death in 1963, including the dramatic poems The Bowl of Blood, Medea, and The Double Axe byt were eventually omitted for reasons that are unclear; and those poems from his last years, which appeared posthumously in The Beginning and the End, that seem to be completed drafts.


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Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) is not only the greatest poet that California (and indeed the American West) has produced but a major poet of the twentieth century who occupies a prominent place in the tradition of American prophetic poetry. Jeffers consciously set himself apart from the poetry of his generation—by physical isolation at his home in Carmel, by his unusual poeti Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) is not only the greatest poet that California (and indeed the American West) has produced but a major poet of the twentieth century who occupies a prominent place in the tradition of American prophetic poetry. Jeffers consciously set himself apart from the poetry of his generation—by physical isolation at his home in Carmel, by his unusual poetic form, and by his stance as an "anti-modernist." Yet his work represents a profound, and profoundly original, artistic response to problems that shaped modernist poetry and that still perplex poets today; how to reconcile scientific and artistic discourses and modes of vision; how to connect present-day experience to myths perceived as lying at the origins of human culture; how to renew the poetic language and how (or whether) to present art's claim to moral, spiritual, or epistemological seriousness within representations of modern phenomena. For Jeffers, as for no other important modern American poet, there has never been a collected poems, not even a truly representative selected poems—the current Selected Poetry, first published in 1938, contains no work from the last three volumes published during Jeffers' lifetime or from his posthumous volume. Now, for the first time, all of Jeffers' completed poems, both published and unpublished, are presented in a single, comprehensive, and textually authoritative edition. The first three volumes of this four-volume work, will present chronologically all of Jeffers' published work from 1920 to 1963. The present volume consists of poems written from 1939 to Jeffers' death in 1963, including the dramatic poems The Bowl of Blood, Medea, and The Double Axe byt were eventually omitted for reasons that are unclear; and those poems from his last years, which appeared posthumously in The Beginning and the End, that seem to be completed drafts.

30 review for The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers: Volume Three: 1939-1962

  1. 5 out of 5

    A.M. Riley

    Hurt Hawks by Robinson Jeffers I The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder, The wing trails like a banner in defeat, No more to use the sky forever but live with famine And pain a few days: cat nor coyote Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons. He stands under the oak-bush and waits The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it. He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse. The curs Hurt Hawks by Robinson Jeffers I The broken pillar of the wing jags from the clotted shoulder, The wing trails like a banner in defeat, No more to use the sky forever but live with famine And pain a few days: cat nor coyote Will shorten the week of waiting for death, there is game without talons. He stands under the oak-bush and waits The lame feet of salvation; at night he remembers freedom And flies in a dream, the dawns ruin it. He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse. The curs of the day come and torment him At distance, no one but death the redeemer will humble that head, The intrepid readiness, the terrible eyes. The wild God of the world is sometimes merciful to those That ask mercy, not often to the arrogant. You do not know him, you communal people, or you have forgotten him; Intemperate and savage, the hawk remembers him; Beautiful and wild, the hawks, and men that are dying, remember him. II I’d sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk; but the great redtail Had nothing left but unable misery From the bones too shattered for mending, the wing that trailed under his talons when he moved. We had fed him for six weeks, I gave him freedom, He wandered over the foreland hill and returned in the evening, asking for death, Not like a beggar, still eyed with the old Implacable arrogance. I gave him the lead gift in the twilight. What fell was relaxed, Owl-downy, soft feminine feathers; but what Soared: the fierce rush: the night-herons by the flooded river cried fear at its rising Before it was quite unsheathed from reality. Every single one of Jeffers' poems make me sad and angry and yet I recognize something beautiful through them. He is best known as the poet who lived and wrote about Big Sur. He lived a passionate life, stole a married woman away from her civilized husband, lived in a rock tower built by hand from the stones of Carmel. He fell out of favor in the public schools for a time, maybe we didn't want to teach our children about women who rebel against the cruelty and power. Or maybe his seeming mysanthropy, "I'd sooner, except the penalties, kill a man than a hawk." But he is now regaining popularity with environmentalists. Jeffers loves the wild places, metaphorical and physical. He doesn't much love the human race when it congregates and becomes 'civilized'. Still, he sees something of value in living: "Does it matter whether you hate your...self? At least Love your eyes that can see, your mind that can Hear the music, the thunder of the wings. Love the wild swan."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Jeffers is one of the most under appreciated poets in the canon, which is particularly ironic as his is a voice that could add a bit of substance and so sanity to our discussion of national and international events. " Volume I" of Hunt's "collection" is filled with rich long narrative poems, but they are indicative of the shorter, important work that would follow in this this volume. I recommend the work to anyone who thinks deeply about what it means to be human.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jasper Amadán

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karin

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matti Wiljami

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Sapunor

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  8. 5 out of 5

    James Rhodes

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Ryan

  10. 5 out of 5

    Norman

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alden Cornwell

  12. 4 out of 5

    Halley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Greening

  14. 5 out of 5

    Poetry Train

  15. 4 out of 5

    wilczur

  16. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette

  17. 4 out of 5

    D.A. Gray

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karen Wills

  19. 4 out of 5

    Peycho Kanev

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  21. 5 out of 5

    Duns Scrotus

  22. 4 out of 5

    Freya Wolf

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zuzana Kucerova

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tayler

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mikheil Toria

  27. 5 out of 5

    Devin

  28. 5 out of 5

    ana

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stosch

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Hedrikson

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