The Wild God Of The World

Nature knows that people are a tide that swells and in time will ebb, and all their works dissolve … As for us: We must uncenter our minds from ourselves. We must unhumanize our views a little and become confident as the rock and ocean that we are made from.
Robinson Jeffers

My 2017 painting ‘The Falconer Cannot Hear The Falconer’ (below), mocked-up as a cover for this collection of Robinson Jeffers’ prose and poetry. Jeffers was a fascinating character, a contemporary of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, a fierce intelligence who took a Blakean stance against the relentless advance of modern civilzation and retreated to the California coast that inspired so much of his writing, where he built his own home: Tor House and Hawk Tower. Largely overlooked for decades, his work is now being “rediscovered”, mainly thanks to the efforts of Stanford University Press who published both this anthology and James Karman’s insightful biography of the man’s life. Jeffers’ poetry is often inscrutable and requires repeated readings to even begin to glean a meaning from it, but, as Galway Kinnell (another poet who I suspect was inspired by Jeffers) said: “That’s the way it is with poetry: only when it is incomprehensible to seems profound, and when you understand it is is only ridiculous.”

Here’s another quote from Kinnell that I like, and one that very much echoes Jeffers’ most fervently-expressed sentiments:

“Perhaps poetry will be the canary in the mine-shaft warning us of what’s to come.”

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