Synopses & Reviews
Robinson Jeffers died in 1962 at the age of 75, ending one of the most controversial poetic careers of this century. The son of a theology professor at Western Seminary in Pittsburgh, Jeffers was taught Greek, Latin, and Hebrew as a boy, and spent three years in Germany and Switzerland before entering the University of Western Pennsylvania (now Pittsburgh) at 15. His education continued on the West Coast after his parents moved there, and he received a B.A. from Occidental College at 18. His interest in forestry, medicine, and general science led him to pursue his studies at the University of Southern California, and the University of Zurich.
The poems in this volume have been selected from his major works, among them Be Angry at the Sun, Hungerfield, The Double Axe, Roan Stallion, Tamar and Other Poems, as well as The Beginning and the End, which contains his last poems.
From "The Purse-Seine":
I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all
together into interdependence; we have built the
great cities; now
There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations
incapable of free survival, insulated
From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless,
on all dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
Is being hauled in. They hardly feel the cords drawing,
yet they shine already. The inevitable mass-disasters
Will not come in our time nor in our children's, but we
and our children
Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all
powers -- or revolution, and the new government
Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls -- or
anarchy, the mass disasters.
Review A Day
"In May of 1989 I worked at the late, lamented Olsson's Books and Records in Washington, DC. Being a bona fide poetry lover, I leapt at the opportunity of engaging with a poet I'd never read before. In fact, I'd never heard of the guy. How was I to know that it would end up being a life-changing experience?
The poet was Robinson Jeffers, and the book was Robinson Jeffers: Selected Poems, a small volume published by Vintage. I was swept off my feet. Jeffers was a voice I'd never imagined: powerful, visionary, rhythmic, singing of eternal verities, and turning a merciless eye to the comings and goings and self-important bombast of humankind." Chris Faatz, Powells.com (Read the entire Powells.com review)