Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 30 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
|Jeffers' last book of poetry was published after his death. Its primary subject combined his interest in religion and his interest in science. What was its title?||Robinson Jeffers
The Beginning and the End, and Other Poems. Jeffers was 75 when he died in 1962, in "the bed by the window" that he had written about in his 40s. "The Beginning and the End" tells of the creation of the universe (the big bang).
|Jeffers' poems usually were written in an unusual style which gave him a strong, distinctive voice. Which of the below is so characteristic of Jeffers that he is known by this feature?||Robinson Jeffers
He writes in unusually long lines. Jeffers' long lines are responsible for the real sense of power and grandeur in his best work.
|One of the reasons Jeffers lost his high reputation was that he held highly unpopular political opinions. Which quote from "Shine, Perishing Republic" shows his opinion of America between the World Wars?||Robinson Jeffers
this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire,. Later in the poem, Jeffers hopes his children will "keep their distance from the thickening center."
|One of Jeffers' most popular subjects was love, and he wrote especially of the love he and his wife Una shared. From what subject(s) was he turning to her in the following lines?
"Tonight, dear / Let's forget _____________
And enisle ourselves a little beyond time
You with this Irish whiskey, I with red wine,
While the stars go over the sleepless ocean,
And sometime after midnight I'll pick you a wreath
Of chosen ones; we'll talk about love and death"||Robinson Jeffers
a poem he was writing but didn't like, and World War II. Jeffers doesn't mention it in this place, but he's also struggling with the fact that Una had been diagnosed with cancer and didn't have long to live.
|Jeffers wrote a play retelling a story originally made famous by an earlier playwrite. Starring Judith Anderson and John Gielgud, it was a smash hit on Broadway in 1947. What was the title of that play?||Robinson Jeffers
Medea. Medea was Anderson's most important and well known role. At the end of her career she again took a role in Jeffers' drama, but this time she played the nurse and Zoe Caldwell played Medea.
|"The Bed by the Window" is frequently included in anthologies of American poems. What about the bed made it interesting for Jeffers to write about?||Robinson Jeffers
He had chosen the bed as a good death-bed. Jeffers did eventually die in the bed, just as he had planned to, but not until 30 years after he first published the poem.
|Jeffers was loved for his beautiful descriptions of nature. The following lines open which famous poem?
"The ebb slips from the rock, the sunken
Tide-rocks lift streaming shoulders
Out of the slack, the slow west
Sombering its torch"||Robinson Jeffers
Night. Jeffers' strong depictions of nature (and his ecological philosophy) make him a favorite with the Sierra Club to this day.
|At the height of his popularity, Jeffers was most famous for his novel-length verse narratives. The publication of "Thurso's Landing" occasioned which major magazine to feature Jeffers on its cover?||Robinson Jeffers
TIME. It is extremely rare for a poet to make the cover of TIME, but Jeffers has not been the only one. Amy Lowell was the first, and T. S. Eliot was featured after him.
|In Jeffers' well-known poem "The Purse-Seine," he describes a fishing scene from near his home:
". . . the motorboat circles the gleaming shoal and drifts out her seine-net. They close the circle
And purse the bottom of the net, then with great labor haul it in.
I cannot tell you
How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible . . ."
What does Jeffers' poem compare this scene to?||Lines from Robinson Jeffers
A wide city he saw at night from a mountaintop. I believe the city he had observed that night was Los Angeles. Regardless, he saw American cities as having "gathered vast populations incapable of free survival . . ."
|In his beautiful poem "The Deer Lay Down Their Bones," Jeffers finds a secluded clearing wounded deer go to die in. What does he say directly after these lines?
". . . here they have water for the awful thirst
And peace to die in; dense green laurel and grim cliff
Make sanctuary, and sweet wind blows upward from the deep gorge.--"||Lines from Robinson Jeffers
I wish my bones were with theirs.. Jeffers doesn't admit that temporarily weak thought to hold him for long, but declares his duty to live life to tne end. He concludes this poem "The deer in that beautiful place lay down their bones; I must wear mine."
|In "To the Stone-Cutters," Jeffers addresses the familiar poetic theme of death, and the human hope to live on at least in memories. Here is the beginning of the poem:
"Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you foredefeated
Challengers of oblivion
Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down,
The square-limbed Roman letters
Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain."
How does the poem end?
"Yet stones have stood for a thousand years, and pained thoughts found
||Lines from Robinson Jeffers
The honey of peace in old poems.. When in doubt, assume a poet will sneak in a reference to poetry.
|In "The Excesses of God," Jeffers argues that humanity knows God through his "high superflousness." With which concept does Jeffers follow these powerful lines?
" . . . but to fling
Rainbows over the rain
And beauty above the moon, and secret rainbows
On the domes of deep sea-shells,
And make the necessary embrace of breeding
Beautiful also as fire,
Not even the weeds to multiply without blossom
Nor the birds without music:
There is the great humaneness at the heart of things,
The extravagant kindness, . . ."||Lines from Robinson Jeffers
Humans would do the same if we could.. This poem is a good example of Jeffers' panentheism. Theistically, Panentheism and Pantheism are different. Pantheism believes that all things make up God, or that God and Nature are One. Panentheism, on the other hand, believes that God is in all things but is different as well. Some panentheists say God is Other, some say God is physical nature's Soul, some say God contains Nature.
|Jeffers was cynical, but also gifted at find good results in bad situations. These incomplete lines are from "The Bloody Sire."
"Who would remember _______________
Lacking the terrible halo of spears?
Who formed Christ but ____________,
The cruel and bloody victories of Caesar?"||Lines from Robinson Jeffers
Helen's face / Herod and Caesar. The last line, and the 'moral of the story,' is "Old violence is not too old to beget new values."
|Perhaps Jeffers' most anthologized poem is his politically controversial "Shine, Perishing Republic." Can you recognize which line completes this stanza?
"But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, _________________________________"||Lines from Robinson Jeffers
when the cities lie at the monster's feet there are left the mountains.. All the poems in this quiz can be found in "Robinson Jeffers: Selected Poems." This inexpensive paperback, published by Vintage, makes an excellent introduction to Jeffers.
He was largely ignored.. "Fustian and rodomontade" both mean "pretentious'. Kenneth Rexroth was the poet and critic who used that rodomotade language in a dismissive review. The review may have been overblown, but Rexroth told the truth when he also wrote "Today, young people simply do not read him."
Jeffers reputation has recovered somewhat in recent years, but his writing will probably never again reach the stature it had when he was put on the cover of the April 4, 1932 issue of TIME magazine.
|Jeffers wrote these lines to Una in 1952. Why?
"Whom should I write for dear, but for you? Two years have passed,
The wound is bleeding--new and will never heal.
I used to write for you, and give you the poem
When it was written, and wait uneasily your verdict . . ."||The Life and Lines of Robinson Jeffers
Una had died of cancer.. Jeffers grieved for several years. Karman reports that "although troubled, Jeffers was not constantly depressed. . . . One night during this time, after a dinner that included oysters from the East Coast sent to the Jeffers by friends, Lee found Robinson carefully disposing of the shells. As she tells the story, he was carefully placing them in an area once used by Indians for the abalone feasts. 'What are you doing?' she asked politely. 'I'm putting these here to confuse future archaeologists,' he replied, smiling."
|Jeffers had a quite successful career, but probably his greatest popular success was a verse play he translated upon the suggestion of Dame Judith Anderson. The success was partially because Anderson was at the height of her career when she starred in the play on Broadway, but it was also because Jeffers' adaptation of the play was brilliant. The "New York Times" called the production a landmark of the modern stage, and after a run of 214 performances it toured the nation and the world, including Denmark, Italy, and several other countries. Which play was it?||The Life and Lines of Robinson Jeffers
Euripides' "Medea". Karman adds that Euripides, the fifth century B.C. Greek writer of the original "Medea", was a poet with whom Jeffers identified and whose themes were familiar to him. Perfomed in 1947, just after the close of World War II, "Medea" was thought by some to encourage a cynical view of the violence of war, but it was so brilliantly adapted that the harsh vision that usually turned people away was well received.
|Reviewers raved about the force of Tamar's story then; critics now see lines like these as evidence that Jeffers has tapped into the force of what powerful story retold in modern garb?
" . . . She in the starlight
And little noises of the rising tide
Naked and not ashamed bore a third part
With the ocean and the keen stars in the consistence
And dignity of the world. She was white stone,
Passion and despair and grief had stripped away
Whatever is rounded and approachable
In the body of woman, hers looked hard, long lines
Narrowing down from the shoulder-bones, no appeal,
A weapon and no sheath, fire without fuel . . ."||The Life and Lines of Robinson Jeffers
The myth of the eternal return and "Mother" Nature. Karman quotes Robert Brophy as pointing out that "Tamar" and "The Waste Land" are based on the same myth.
|In 1922 Jeffers again self-published a volume, "Tamar and Other Poems", which never sold. However, it later was widely reviewed, highly praised, and eventually republished by Boni & Liveright as "Roan Stallion, Tamar, and Other Poems". What event turned a box of books in Jeffers' attic into a national best seller?||The Life and Lines of Robinson Jeffers
The Book Club of California featured Jeffers in their "Continent's End: An Anthology of Contemporary California Poets". 1922 was a major year in English language literature, with Joyce's "Ulysses", Eliot's "The Waste Land", and other important works being published. Reviewers, however, put Jeffers ahead of them all. James Rorty, for one example, wrote in the "New York Herald Tribune" that "Nothing as good as its kind has been written in America . . . America has a new poet of genius." Mark Van Doren wrote: "few are as rich with the beauty and strength which belong to genius alone."
|Living in Carmel affected Jeffers greatly. When he turned 31, he had what Una called "a kind of awakening such as adolescents and religious converts are said to experience." These lines from "The Tower Beyond Tragedy" captures some of the nature of this rebirth. Which line does NOT belong?||The Life and Lines of Robinson Jeffers
I enjoyed a vision, / Endured betrayal, you must not ask me to endure final defeat. This line is from "Woodrow Wilson". James Karman covers Jeffers' awakening in pp. 35-70, with the material for this question coming primarily from 46-48.
|Robinson Jeffers' life and writing are both tightly connected to the Big Sur landscape. However, Una and Robin had planned to live in Lyme Regis, a small village on the southern coast of England. When their move was delayed they found Carmel almost by chance, and settled into what Jeffers called their "inevitable place." What had delayed their move to England long enough for them to find Carmel?||The Life and Lines of Robinson Jeffers
Una discovered she was pregnant, and then World War I started.. Jeffers had workmen build "Tor House" 50 feet from the Pacific ocean. They used local granite boulders, even stones taken from the beach next to the house. Robinson himself worked on the project as an apprentice stonemason. With the skills he learned, he added to the house himself over the years. His most impressive contribution was Hawk Tower, and when it was finished did most of his writing in the study he had built at the top. Tor House and Carmel made a great home for Jeffers for the next half century. His poem "Tor House" includes the lines:
"If you should look for this place after a handful of lifetimes . . .
Look for foundations of sea-worn granite, my fingers had the art
To make stone love stone, you will find some remnant."
|Robinson Jeffers was raised by a father who demanded academic excellence at an early age. William Hamilton Jeffers was a professional theologian, an editor of a scholarly journal, and a scholar of eight ancient languages who spoke three modern ones. He wanted his son to thoroughly understand his Judeo-Christian religious heritage and his Greco-Roman culture. As a result, by the age of twelve, Jeffers was in control of which languages?||The Life and Lines of Robinson Jeffers
English, French, German, Greek, and Latin. Quite impressive for a young man of twelve! On the other hand, Dr. Jeffers was "a scholar of Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, Babylonian, and Assyrian, and a student of German and French."
James Karman, author of the biography "Robinson Jeffers: Poet of California", is the source of all of the quoted information in this quiz. You can find this particular information on p. 8.