Robinson Jeffers and the Modern Metropolis: Los Angeles and Beyond
Robinson Jeffers Association Annual Conference and Meeting
February 24-26, 2017
Occidental College, Los Angeles, California
The strikingly original and powerful poems that comprise Robinson Jeffers’ best work typically focus on the natural world and the un-built, “inhuman” environment of the wild, central California coast. These are the poems for which Jeffers was best known in his own time as well as today. But Jeffers, who began his writing career in very early twentieth-century Los Angeles, was powerfully influenced by his experience in the emerging metropolis, which he navigated as a precocious college student, young bohemian, son, and lover. Jeffers’ great familiarity with the city bred contempt, however. He recoiled from urban arts and experience – which many would argue was absolutely central to modernity itself—in favor of a simpler, pastoral life, which he felt was more appropriate for a poet who intended to create substantial work that would endure for ages.
With the intention to engage with the tensions in Jeffers’ work between the country and the city, the lone homesteader and the urban masses, the integrity and eternal endurance of the natural world and the ephemeral, fashionable trends of the metropolis, the Robinson Jeffers Association will meet in Los Angeles at Jeffers’ Alma Mater, Occidental College, in order to complicate the way we have understood Jeffers’ work and his relevance to readers today. Our goal is to re-envision the role of Los Angeles and the city more broadly in Jeffers’ work, career, and personal life. The 23rd Annual Conference and Meeting of the Robinson Jeffers Association seeks papers on Jeffers' engagement with the real and imagined space of the metropolis—Los Angeles and beyond—and its impact on his work and life. Papers that address topics outside of this area will also be welcome. Paper proposals of 200-250 words and an abbreviated C.V. may be emailed to RJA Executive Director Dale Ann Stieber at email@example.com no later than December 15, 2016. Presentations should not exceed twenty minutes.
Lodging and transportation options, as well as more detailed information about tours, special sessions, and other planned events will be posted in December 2016 at www.robinsonjeffersassociation.org.
At this year’s conference, we will also be accepting applications for the second Emerging Scholars Workshop, a special session of the Robinson Jeffers Association that will enable junior scholars to workshop an essay among senior scholars and receive substantial feedback. Travel scholarships will be available to those attending this session; queries regarding this session should be directed to Dale Ann Stieber at firstname.lastname@example.org.