Volume 12, Numbers 1 and 2 Spring and Fall 2008
This double issue of volume 12 of Jeffers Studies continues our commitment to present readers with original Jeffers material–photos, drafts, unpublished and obscure work, and so on — that will aid and enhance scholarship and interest readers in general. The special section in this volume contains two such items: a supplement to The Collected Early Verse and a transcription of an unpublished manuscript from Occidental College’s Jeffers collection. Robert Kafka has unearthed eight poems from Jeffer’s early years that have never before been collected. Four of the poems originally appeared in the The Los Angeles Times, and the other four were included in correspondence or uncatalogued archival collections. One manuscript was given to a one-time girlfriend, and we are happy to reproduce an image of it and a photo of the young lady, Vera Placida Gardner.
Also in this section is Dirk Aardsma’s transcription of an abandoned narrative from the late 1920s. The beginning of the poem follows a pattern common in Jeffers’s work from this time that continues in the 1930s–out on a walk among the coastal canyons, the poet meets a lonely inhabitant, an encounter from which a tale or lyrical insight emerges. In this case, the character’s impulse to talk leads to a strange narrative of his failed marriage and his dreams of the coast being haunted by the inhabitants of a future city. The manuscript breaks off inconclusively, but it is an intriguing example of the sources of and inspirations for the stories in Jeffers’s poems.
Of course, we are also committed to publishing the most current and interesting criticism on the poetry, and this volume includes three articles that address a diversity of issues in Jeffers’s work. John Cusatis investigates the affinities between Jeffers and a fellow-writer, George Sterling, who preceded Jeffers as Carmel’s resident poet. Temple Cone use Jeffers’s occasional self-representations as a ghost as an entry point for a consideration of his ambivalent views of the human presence on his beloved Central California coast. Finally, Robert Zaller tackles the vexed issue of Jeffers’s political allegiances, examining specifically his relation to isolationism in the years leading up to World Ward II. In these three articles, we find Jeffers treated in the context of literary history, environmental criticism, and politics–an excellent sampling of the ways in which poetry can be read and interpreted.
Readers will also find an extensive review of the first volume of Stanford University Press’s The Collected Letters of Robinson Letters, edited by James Karman, an updated bibliography of criticism on Jeffers from sources other than Jeffers Studies, and a number of News and Notes items, which, unfortunately, includes two obituaries for longtime Jeffers advocates, John Hicks and John Courtney. Their contributions to Jeffers criticism and the preservation of Tor House will long be appreciated, and they themselves will be missed.
For information on the availability and pricing of back issues of Jeffers Studies, email Rob Kafka at firstname.lastname@example.org.