The annual West Chester Poetry Conference, whose perennial subtitle is “Exploring Form and Narrative,” has become the largest all-poetry conference in the country. It regularly takes place during the second week of June, always at West Chester University in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Since the conference co-founders (Dana Gioia and Michael Peich) and its attendees have an interest in Jeffers, there have been several panels throughout the years devoted to his work.
This year, RJA President David J. Rothman chaired a panel on the first volume of the Collected Letters and introduced the topic. Papers were presented by Tim Hunt (“The Voice within the Voice: Hearing Jeffers’ Poetry through the Letters”), Robert Zaller (“‘A Terrible Genius’: Robinson Jeffers’ Art of Narrative”) and Erika Koss (“‘That Burning Flower’: Eros in the Letters of Robinson and Una Jeffers”). There were well over 50 people in the room, making it one of the larger audiences for an academic panel on Jeffers this year.