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The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  462 ratings  ·  28 reviews
This is the definitive selection of Jeffers poetry. His narrative poetry shares a greatness with the best poets of the ages. The poems included here range from Roan Stallion and Cawdor from the twenties to his last poems in the late fifties. If you are going to have one book of Jeffers, and if you are interested at all in 20th century American poetry you must have at least ...more
ebook, 644 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Quinn Press (first published 1938)
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John Doe
Jeffers is my favorite American poet. He made some weird comments about FDR and the second world war, and he was taken out of the cannon. He is better known in eastern Europe than in his home country. In my opinion, his shorter poems got even better after he was blacklisted.

He was famous for his plays and for his long narrative poems. Most of his longer poems had to do with incest. Jeffers thought mankind's preoccupation with itself was a kind of incest. In his shorter poems, he wrote about roc
M. Sarki
Certainly not my cup of tea and most likely another reason I could give for the general mass of humanity taught at all ages through their schooling experience to not like poetry either. I am sure there are some redeeming qualities of Jeffers' poetry to the historians among us, but that is something I am simply not interested in. Having cultural, civic, and worldly events chronicled through narrative poetry is a media that quickly puts me to sleep and I find no pleasantries in it. My body almost ...more
drunken charlie, part iv

she lay in the stern of the boat,
and her body sang like a lark:

i curse the war-makers i curse
those that run to the ends of the earth
to exalt a system or save
a foreign power or foreign trade.

my boy was killed by a sea-lion,
and that was cruel but it was clean.
there are men plotting to kill
a million boys for a dead dream.

oh my dear there are some things
that are well worth fighting for.
fight to save a sea-gull's wings:
that would be a sacred war.
Being such a comprehensive collection, the quality and type of content varies wildly. It mostly alternates between the long-form narrative verse and the brief meditative poems in a chronological order.

The brief poems are generally quite interesting and thought-provoking, and definitely have a strong eastern influence--very reminiscent of Taoist and Zen philosophy. Although they do vary and some came be a bit esoteric and almost incoherent. You can really trace Jeffers' mental state as these evo
Shine, Republic:

The quality of these trees, green height; of the sky, shining; of water, a clear flow; of the rock, hardness.

And reticence: each is noble in its quality. The love of freedom has been the quality of Western man.

There is a stubborn torch that flames from Marathon to Concord, its dangerous beauty binding three ages.

Into one time; the waves of barbarism and civilization have eclipsed but have never quenched it.

For the Greeks the love of beauty, for Rome of ruling; for the present
Manifest  Terror
everything must be reconsidered after reading these poems. i also really liked the small selections of his prose, which were mostly introductions to his works. "the loving shepherdess" is the only one of the longer works which i liked, although all of the longer poems have parts of sheer brilliance. the beginning of "hungerfield" was deeply moving, as was the ending, but the middle was "typical" dense, obscure Jeffers; not unenjoyable, but not ecstatic.

one way to describe him is as "a nature po
Robinson Jeffers was born on January 10, 1887. In this, the definitive selection of Jeffers poetry, there is a broad selection that includes his best efforts. Ranging from Roan Stallion and Cawdor from the twenties to his last poems in the late fifties, the collection demonstrates that he belongs in the pantheon with the best poets of the ages. "Rock and Hawk" is both one of his greatest poems and one of my favorites; but I also relish the great thoughts found in some of the smallest poems:
"I a
I wanted so much to be the kind of person who likes Robinson Jeffers and his poetry, but I am just not. I've tried for years to read this book to no avail. He has a harsher eye, imagine if Carl Sandburg carried a grudge and wanted to keep things real, then you would have Jeffers. And I just don't like where his words take me.
Could not get into his style; even though I wanted to love the descriptions of nature, something would always sound a sour note. His poem I like the best an untitled piece starting with "The unformed volcanic earth, a female thing" was not in the edition available in my library...
If you are going to have one book of Jeffers, and if you are interested at all in 20th century American poetry you must have at least one, this is the one. Jeffers wrote a lot of beautiful shorter poems, but to really feel his passion it is necessary to become immersed in the longer narratives and this book gives some of them. It necessarily omits some of the long poems that are titles for sections of the book; Dear Judas, The women of Point Sur, Double Axe are three. Each of these narrative poe ...more
Religions could and should be formed based out of this guy's point of view. I know it has informed the way I look at the world. Wait until those long winter nights, turn off the TV and open this book to just about any poem and just read. I find some of the longer form pieces which he's known for to be a little hard to follow and get through, so usually I'll just focus on one paragraph or sentence which really resonates. "I seem to have stood a long time and watched the stars pass."
Jeffers poetry is very......interesting. He covers a wide variety of topics from nature to scandal to religion. He also has a wide variety of writing styles from poetry to plays from lengthy stories to very short poems. His time frames vary from ancient times to WWII. A vast array is covered in this poetry with a little for everyone.
Frederick Jackson
Wonderful free verse narrative poems of a rural, littoral California long gone by (Depression era). I carried this tome around for quite a while. Many poems are like Greek tragedies. All the verse is strong, moving, gripping.
Jeffers gets 5 stars on GoodReads! I imagine this is because you either know and love him, or you don't know him. There is no natural poetry that captures the stoic, patient understanding of the world half so well.
violence, hawks, rocks, big sur, a healthy distaste for man meets a sharp reverence for classical lit. homer meets muir. jarring, uncomprimising, resounding, righteous poetry. Jeffers is underrated.
My favorite poet. Not for everyone, chock full of adult themes but very much an insight into the feral California male and his living off and in step with the untamed land.
The narrative power of Jeffers is what amazes me. Add the rugged beauty of Monterey, and you have a delightful poetic palette.
I wrote my senior thesis in high school on Jeffers. His poetry makes you want to move west and live off the earth
Ty Richardson
That I wish I could afford the collected works by Standford Press. I love Jeffers. Inhumanism is where it's at.
Skip the long poems (highly tedious) and revel in the compact, cranky little gems of this neglected "inhumanist" poet
Mark Ramstead
Jul 22, 2012 Mark Ramstead is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I am almost through this book completely. In many ways it is the only book I should ever need to read... : )
His longer poems tend to get a bit tedious but it's an easy five stars for his shorter work.
A.p. Eberhart
The greatest American poet, in my mind. Jeffers surpasses all others in the poetic art!
Oct 18, 2007 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Former Nietzscheans
One of my favorite, and one of the most interesting and overlooked, American poets.
Nov 08, 2008 April marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
"Shine Perishing Republic" recommended to me by customer
*Swoon* That is all.
“Joy is a trick in the air…”
The Rilke of nature poetry!
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  • Selected Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • Above the River: The Complete Poems
  • Collected Poems, 1937-1971
  • Elegy
  • New Selected Poems
  • Complete Poems
  • The Blue Estuaries
  • Garbage
  • Selected Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Selected Poems
  • The Changing Light at Sandover
  • The Collected Poems, 1956-1998
  • Making Certain It Goes On: The Collected Poems of Richard Hugo
  • Complete Poems
  • The Maximus Poems
  • Collected Poetry & Prose
John Robinson Jeffers (January 10, 1887 – January 20, 1962) 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.

The largest collections of Jeffers' manuscripts and materials are in the Harry Ransom Huma
More about Robinson Jeffers...
Selected Poems The Wild God of the World: An Anthology of Robinson Jeffers Cawdor & Medea Medea Roan Stallion, Tamar  and Other Poems

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“A little too abstract, a little too wise,
It is time for us to kiss the earth again,
It is time to let the leaves rain from the skies,
Let the rich life run to the roots again.”
“What is this thing called life? I believe
That the earth and the stars too, and the whole glittering universe, and rocks on the mountains have life,
Only we do not call it so--I speak of the life
That oxidizes fats and proteins and carbo-
Hydrates to live on, and from that chemical energy
Makes pleasure and pain, wonder, love, adoration, hatred and terror: how do these things grow
From a chemical reaction?
I think they were here already, I think the rocks
And the earth and the other planets, and the stars and the galaxies
have their various consciousness, all things are conscious;
But the nerves of an animal, the nerves and brain
Bring it to focus; the nerves and brain are like a burning-glass
To concentrate the heat and make it catch fire:
It seems to us martyrs hotter than the blazing hearth
From which it came. So we scream and laugh, clamorous animals
Born howling to die groaning: the old stones in the dooryard
Prefer silence; but those and all things have their own awareness,
As the cells of a man have; they feel and feed and influence each other, each unto all,
Like the cells of a man's body making one being,
They make one being, one consciousness, one life, one God.”
More quotes…