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Robinson Jeffers

(10 January 1887 – 20 January 1962 / Allegheny, Pennsylvania)

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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Quotations

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  • ''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...
  • ''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...
  • ''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...
  • ''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...
  • ''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...
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Comments about Robinson Jeffers

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  • Rookie 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.

  • Rookie 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.

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