Robinson Jeffers: 10 Essential Poems

Robinson Jeffers: 10 Essential Poems Human Voices Wake Us

An episode from 9/23/22: What twentieth-century American poet devoted so much time to the environment, and to humanity’s place in it, other than Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)? What other poet devoted his powers not to the puzzles of Modernism but to the plain-spoken strengths of science, prophecy, and myth? Tonight I read ten of Jeffers’ essential poems, and I hope you are as stunned by them as I always am.     

The poems I read are:

  • The Excesses of God
  • Point Joe
  • Hooded Night
  • New Mexican Mountain
  • Nova
  • from Hungerfield
  • De Rerum Virtute
  • Vulture
  • “I am seventy-four years old and suddenly all my strength”
  • Inscription for a Gravestone

The episode ends with a 1941 Library of Congress recording of Jeffers reading his poem, “Natural Music.”

Selections of Jeffers’s poetry are legion: many of them can be found here. The five-volume Collected Poems of Robinson Jeffers, edited by Tim Hunt and published by Stanford University Press, can be found here. You can read more about his life at the Poetry Foundation and Wikipedia. A larger selection of his poetry, which I recorded in 2020-2021, can be found here.

Don’t forget to join Human Voices Wake Us on Patreon, or sign up for our newsletter here. You can also support the podcast by ordering any of my books: Notes from the Grid, To the House of the Sun, The Lonely Young & the Lonely Old, and Bone Antler Stone.

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