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Robinson Jeffers: Life And Poetry Essay

1327 words - 6 pages

Robinson Jeffers: Life and Poetry
“Poetry is more primitive than prose. It existed before prose and will exist afterward, it is not domesticated, it is wilder and more natural” (qtd. in Hunt, “Prose”). Robinson Jeffers said this about poetry, and a reader can feel this in his poems. Jeffers lived an interesting and fulfilling life. He enjoyed the solitude of his home on Carmel Point, and spending time with his family. He wrote during the Modern Era, but he didn’t write like a modernist. Jeffers wrote as if he was speaking with the reader. “Hurt Hawks” was criticized by Tim Hunt. Hunt said that it was one of Jeffers’s greatest poems. Another appreciated poem, “Oh Lovely Rock”, has been ...view middle of the document...

After graduating from Occidental, Jeffers moved on to graduate school at University of Southern California. He first was a student in literature and then switched over to medical school for three years. He was very good at what he was studying, but it did not interest him. So, he moved on to the University of Washington. He then tried twice to start a career in forestry.. Through all of this Jeffers realized that his true passion was poetry, and began what would become one of the most renowned writing careers of his time.
After graduating and before starting his writing career, Jeffers was finally free from his father’s strong religious beliefs and he explored a new kind of lifestyle. He drank heavily and dated many women regularly, one in particular influenced Jeffers. Her name was Una Call Kuster and she was already married to Edward Kuster when Jeffers met her in 1906. Within the next four years they had an affair that became public in 1912. Una divorced her husband in 1913, and married Jeffers the very next day. They moved together to a village called Carmel on California's central coast. The first home they had together was a small log cabin in Carmel. Their twin sons were born in 1916. They lived off the inheritance of a relative for the next ten years while Jeffers found himself in his poetry. Another way Jeffers occupied his time was building his stone cottage house on a plot of land he had bought on Carmel Point. He had hired a local builder to learn stone masonry. He enjoyed it so much that he began spending most afternoons building structures out of stone. At this point in his life Jeffers lived "largely within himself," as a college friend later said (qtd. in Kafka, "Robinson Jeffers: A Biographical Sketch"). It was during World War I that he began to ask big questions, that are reflected in his poetry. He didn't believe in war unless it was a war of defense and he struggled with that. He also was having trouble adjusting to his new role as a husband, father and the provider of the family (Kafka, "Robinson Jeffers: A Biographical Sketch"). Life was a lot different for him then it was as a student. It was between the years of 1914-1919 that Jeffers made the greatest advance in his intellectual life. "He read deeply in recent theories of psychology, myth and cultural anthropology--Freud, Jung, Frazer, Harrison and others, either directly or indirectly" (Kafka, "Robinson Jeffers: A Biographical Sketch"). He used all his new knowledge in a lot of his major work that followed. All of these authors had a major influence on his poetry. "Around 1920 Jeffers began to develop a distinct prosody based on accentual meter and abandoned the metrical forms he had previously emulated" (Kafka, "Robinson Jeffers: A Biographical Sketch")....

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