poet Robinson Jeffers

Robinson Jeffers

#219 on top 500 poets
Robinson Jeffers
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John Robinson Jeffers was an American poet, known for his work about the central California coast. Most of Jeffers' poetry was written in classic narrative and epic form, but today he is also known for his short verse, and considered an icon of the environmental movement.

Life

Jeffers was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (now part of Pittsburgh), the son of a Presbyterian minister and biblical scholar, Reverend Dr. William Hamilton Jeffers, and Annie Robinson Tuttle. His brother was Hamilton Jeffers, who became a well-known astronomer, working at Lick Observatory. His family was supportive of his interest in poetry. He traveled through Europe during his youth and ... more »

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Robinson Jeffers Quotations

  • ''civilization is a transient sickness.''
    Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), U.S. poet. New Mexican Mountain (l. 12). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Cl...
    47 person liked.
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  • ''How shall the dead taste the deep treasure they have?''
    Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), U.S. poet. Promise of Peace (l. 14). . . Modern American Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (8th rev. ed., 1962) Harcourt...
    29 person liked.
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  • ''The love of freedom has been the quality of Western man.''
    Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), U.S. poet. Shine, Republic (l. 2). . . Faber Book of Political Verse, The. Tom Paulin, ed. (1986) Faber and Faber; F...
    27 person liked.
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  • ''He is strong and pain is worse to the strong, incapacity is worse.''
    Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), U.S. poet. Hurt Hawks (l. 9). . . Oxford Book of American Verse, The. F. O. Matthiessen, ed. (1950) Oxford Universit...
    18 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • ''This wild swan of a world is no hunter's game.''
    Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962), U.S. poet. Love the Wild Swan (l. 9). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair...
    19 person liked.
    6 person did not like.

Comments about Robinson Jeffers

  • Michael Walker (11/10/2019 9:04:00 PM)

    I have read quite a few of Robinson Jeffers' poems now. They can be obscure in some lines, showing a fine imagination at work. My favorite poem of his is still 'Shine Perishing Republic', which is elegant and the syntax close to perfection, in my opinion.

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  • Barbara Hall (2/14/2019 7:19:00 AM)

    James Karmen’s literary biography of Jeffers led me to the poet’s writing. He is so terribly good that it is shameful he is unread in the 21st century. What a smart man he was, and he marched to his own drum. In the 1930s, he refused to join or support literary groups. He knew the voice of a writer/poet was a singular vision.

    5 person liked.
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  • Anthony White (9/12/2011 1:23:00 PM)

    In a strange way, his lack of popularity is probably a testimony to his insight; people are shy of hearing what disagrees with the common view. His ability to look beyond the tepid matters of today reminds me of the work of David Jones, someone else maturing gently in obscurity.

    71 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Yacov Mitchenko (7/19/2010 11:53:00 PM)

    Robinson Jeffers is a criminally underrated poet, easily the equal of Eliot and Frost (and in my view a better poet than either) . 'Hurt Hawks' and 'Vulture' are among the best animals poems I have read in the language. He's a formidable epic poet, and is generally more successful than the other major English poets at long narratives.

    72 person liked.
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Best Poem of Robinson Jeffers

Be Angry At The Sun

That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.

Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and turn,
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those warriors.
This republic, Europe, Asia.

Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the passionate
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.

You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude ...

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