Message from the President ~ June 2022


Greetings RJA Members,

Giving thanks and a welcome…

Much has evolved in our Association since our last President’s Message: publication of two new volumes of Jeffers’s previously unpublished works, several changes in leadership, plans for the first cohosted, in person RJA/Tor House Foundation Fall Festival in October 2022, and the initiation of a THF Jeffers webinar series. The intellectual space for this growth is due in no small part to our past president, Emeritus Professor Jim Karman. We all are well acquainted with Jim’s erudite Jeffers scholarship: the three-volume Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers, with Selected Letters of Una Jeffers and the Poet and Prophet biography. His leadership and compassionate consideration of the ways and means of keeping the RJA relevant, progressive, and sustainable are equally significant. I also happily acknowledge my gratitude to Paula Karman who has contributed immeasurably to the work of RJA and the continual and uninterrupted dissemination of Jeffers Studies. As your new president, I am extremely grateful to have Jim on “speed dial,” as this will enable a successful transition and the maintenance of the innovative programming that he, Tim Hunt, and others have begun.

In that vein, I would like to formally introduce Emeritus Professor Tim Hunt as our new executive director. If I need to introduce Tim to the RJA membership, then we may have a problem at the very core of our mission! After editing four volumes of Jeffers’s verse craft and composing a fifth on the chronology, exposition, and textual analysis of the poems, many would retire and enjoy their laurels. Instead, Tim has gone on to edit, with Rob Kafka, the extraordinary Point Alma Venus manuscripts and create a series of new Jeffers programming initiatives to engage both Jeffers scholars and the general public. Tim has also published a new volume of original poetry—more on this to follow.

The final addition to our leadership team is the election of new Advisory Board member, Louise Economides, who will join existing members Robert Zaller and Gere diZerega. Louise is a professor of literature at the University of Montana, where she focuses on the intersection of environmental studies and the humanities. Louise has written on “Robinson Jeffers, Geopoetry, and the Anthropocene,” as well as numerous articles and published volumes, including Blake, Heidegger, Buddhism and Deep Ecology: A Fourfold Perspective on Humanity’s Relationship to Nature; The Ecology of Wonder in Romantic and Postmodern Literature; and the forthcoming Wild Anthropocene: Literature, Environmental Justice and the Future of Biodiversity (Routledge). I am extremely excited to welcome Louise to the Board.

President’s Message: Why the RJA?

“Civilization exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice.” This quote, often attributed to Will Durant, contextualizes our modern condition and allows us to recognize the fragile connection between the environment and the culture—civilization—through which we interpret our existence. If we include the organic changes that arise from evolutionary biology in the broader context of Earth evolution, we might consider “biological consent” as equally subject to change without notice (read: viruses). Our existence has always been subconsciously predicated on the notion of earthly and biological stability. Yet here we are, amidst a global pandemic, the recent eruption of Hunga Tonga (right), and natural and anthropogenic climate change. We are faced with geologic phenomena that would find a fitting home in the poetry of Robinson Jeffers.
Given the increasing global recognition of this fragility, several questions arise. How can the RJA increase and sustain Jeffers’s voice in the larger dialogue on the reevaluation of our position in the environmental, spiritual, and political landscape? Where do we go 60 years on from Jeffers’s death? Has he reached a wider reading public? Is he regularly anthologized and taught? How has his work shaped subsequent generations of readers, poets, artists, and critics? As even casual readers are aware, Jeffers claimed not to be swayed by popular opinion nor even the desire for readers. Perhaps a bit of braggadocio, but not without some rationale. Jeffers crafted his poetry, and indeed his larger artistic project, involving the design and construction of Tor House and Hawk Tower, with the intentions of existential longevity and endurance.

How can the RJA endeavor to demonstrate that Jeffers’s artistic achievements provide a fundamental metaphor for the 21st century homo sapien? That is, one who is patient, observant, constructive, compassionate—yes, despite his assertions of hawks over humans, Jeffers was deeply compassionate—and, ever more resonant today, one who leads a life of sustainability.

I have no definitive answers for these questions, but there are many possibilities waiting to be explored. I look forward to working with all of you to increase and sustain the influence of Robinson Jeffers on homo sapiens. He and we are worth the effort.

My very best wishes to each of you, and I look forward to future dialogues with all of you.

Aaron Yoshinobu (he/him)
President, RJA

2022 Joint RJA/Tor House Foundation Fall Festival Announcement

We would like to invite you to attend the upcoming in-person 2022 Fall Festival, co-hosted by the RJA and the Tor House Foundation, in Carmel, CA, from October 14 to 16. The theme of the festival will be the Jeffers family’s 1929 travels to Ireland and Scotland, with special emphasis on the recently published 1929 Travel Diaries and the connections with Jeffers’s volume, Descent to the Dead. Presentations on other topics are welcome, as well.

The festivities will begin with a Sunset Celebration at Tor House on Friday evening. Public presentations will follow on Saturday at the Carmel Woman’s Club; Saturday evening will include a dedication of sculptures at Jeffers Plaza in Monterey, followed by dinner; on Sunday morning we will gather at Tor House for a farewell breakfast. Specific details and registration information will be sent later in the summer.

The deadline for proposals is July 15. Please submit your proposal and any questions you may have to

New Programming and Membership Benefits…

Jeffers Studies is one way we share insights and ideas concerning Jeffers. Other ways include our RJA–THF webinars and our newly introduced programming channel for Zoom-based seminars and open discussions. For more information about the programming channel and for a sign-up link, click here:

If you have not already done so, please remember to remit your 2022 membership dues. Here is a link to the “Join or Renew” page on our website: For those of you who have already renewed, thank you!

News from Jeffers Country

We are pleased to welcome Rick Applegate (Tucson, AZ), Ronald Janssen (Huntington Station, NY), Clark McCann (Issaquah, WA), John Ryan (Howell, NJ), and Katrien Vander Straeten (Wayland, MA) as new members of the RJA.

Cory Willard published “Uncenter Yourselves: Revisiting Robinson Jeffers’s Inhumanism in the Age of The Overstory” in Western American Literature, Vol. 56, No. 3-4 (2021), 237-52:

An art exhibit titled The Fire of Heaven: Enrique Martínez Celaya and Robinson Jeffers is on display at the Monterey Museum of Art (Monterey, CA) from May 12, 2022, to October 9, 2022:

Elise M. Eden performed three recitals and submitted a “Voice Dissertation” for a DMA at the University of Michigan in 2021. One of the recitals featured a performance of Songs of Autumn—five poems by Jeffers set to music by composer Jessica Hunt.

Sara Judy completed a PhD dissertation at the University of Notre Dame in April 2022 titled “Singing in the Late Season: Prophetic American Poetry in the Post-War Period.” Her study “shows how social protest poetry written in the U.S. after the second World War, by Robinson Jeffers, Muriel Rukeyser, and Jorie Graham, challenges and complicates traditional notions of prophecy in American poetry.”

Carter Davis Johnson earned an MA at Virginia Tech University in April 2022 with a thesis titled “The Dust Dwellers: The Environmental Philosophy of John Steinbeck, Robinson Jeffers, and Jack London.” Johnson examines “the environmental philosophy of three Californian modernists . . . collectively named the Dust Dwellers: John Steinbeck, Robinson Jeffers, and Jack London” from a Jungian perspective.

Congratulations to Tim Hunt on Voice to Voice in the Dark, a new collection of poems scheduled for publication by Broadstone Press on July 15. As one appreciative reader writes, “I love how this luminous book sees a person—any person, not just a poet, or a singer, or a revolutionary—as a voice among voices—and by doing so, enables us to hear America again.” For more information see

RJA-THF Webinar Videos

The webinar series co-sponsored by the Robinson Jeffers Association and Tor House Foundation explores the nature, impact, and cultural contexts of the work of Robinson Jeffers.  For recordings of the  webinars to date, please use the links below.

Robinson Jeffers & Contemporary Poetry—The On-Going Dialogue: A Conversation with Katie Peterson and André Naffis-Sahely hosted by Tim Hunt (August 18, 2022) [recording to be posted soon]

Robinson Jeffers, Herman Melville & Lorine Niedecker—Poets of Transhumanity: A Conversation with Elisa New & Gillian Osborne hosted by Tim Hunt (April 21, 2022)

Two Newly Published Robinson Jeffers Titles presented by Debbie Sharp and Tim Hunt and hosted by Aaron Yoshinobu (January 27, 2022)

New Voices and New Directions in Jeffers Scholarship featuring Katharine Bubel, Brett Colasacco, and Geneva Gano (August 26, 2021)

Looking at Jeffers: Portraits – Weston, Hagemeyer, and Contemporary Bronzes hosted by Amy Essick and featuring Carol Matranga Courtney, Will Pettee, and Matt Weston (April 30, 2021)

Robinson Jeffers’ “Shine, Perishing Republic,” “Shine, Republic,” and “Shine, Empire: A Panel Discussion featuring Shelley Alden Brooks, Whitney Hoth, and Robert Zaller (January 28, 2021)

Setting Robinson Jeffers to Music: A Conversation with Christopher Anderson Bazzoli and Jessica Hunt. Hosted by Melinda Coffey Armstead (October 25, 2020)

Robinson Jeffers’ “The Purse-Seine”: A Panel Discussion featuring James Karman, Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts, and Susan Shillinglaw (July 29, 2020)


Message from the President ~ December 2021

As my term as president of RJA nears its end, I want to take this opportunity to introduce Aaron Yoshinobu, who steps into the position in January. Many of you already know Aaron from his erudite presentations at RJA and Tor House Foundation events, but those of you who have not yet met him might wish to know that he is a native of the Monterey Peninsula and a professor in the Department of Geosciences at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. His faculty profile at Texas Tech includes this statement:
I am a structural geologist who explores questions relating to the nature of magma/melt migration and emplacement in the lithosphere and the structural/tectonic evolution of arcs, oceanic spreading centers, and icy satellites. I combine field work with microstructural observations and theoretical models to explain the structural history of these systems. In collaboration with petrologists, geochemists, and geochronologists, I study arc evolution in the US Cordillera and central Norway. My passion is to combine a variety of datasets, observations, and collaborators, to optimally inform our understanding of geologic structures. In addition, I am also interested in the intersection of geology, stone masonry, and the poetics of 20th century American poet Robinson Jeffers. Im a HUGE SOCCER ADVOCATE (coach/player/observer) and I also like to run trail ultramarathons.
Aaron is an interdisciplinary thinker who moves easily between the domains of art and science. Under his leadership, RJA is certain to thrive.
I also want to thank advisory board members Gere diZerega, Tim Hunt, and Robert Zaller for their tireless efforts on behalf of RJA during my term; Brett Colasacco for serving faithfully as executive director; Jim Baird and Whitney Hoth for their skillful co-editorship of Jeffers Studies; Charlie Rodewald for his dedication as treasurer; Jessica Hunt for her expertise as social media coordinator; Paula Karman for her essential roles as administrative partner and Jeffers Studies editorial assistant; and all of you—living in thirty-one states and six foreign countries—for your participation and support. While changes in our administrative lineup will be announced by Aaron when he assumes the presidency, one new addition can be mentioned now: Lindsay Jeffers has graciously accepted our invitation to serve on our advisory board as an ex officio member, representing the Jeffers family. As the immediate past president of RJA, I will be an ex officio member of the advisory board as well, and I look forward to helping Aaron and the executive committee fulfill RJA’s goals.
Plans for the next issue of Jeffers Studies are underway, but there is still time to submit proposals. If you have an idea for an essay, a book review, a biographical note about Jeffers, or a study of a particular poem, please send it by the end of February to the editors at
Jeffers Studies is one way we share insights and ideas concerning Jeffers. Other ways include our RJA–THF webinars and our newly introduced programming channel for Zoom-based seminars and open discussions. For more information about the programming channel and for a sign-up link, click here:
Please remember to remit your 2022 membership dues by the end of this month. Here is a link to the “Join or Renew” page on our website:
For those of you who have already renewed, thank you!
Since this is the holiday season, it is fitting to recall a passage in a letter by Una and a stanza in a poem by Jeffers where Christmas eve at midnight is mentioned. “Christmas was very happy although rainy,” Una writes in 1927. “We four went to midnight mass in the old mission. Most impressive, the fragile music from the loft and the terrific rain and wind swirling around the old building. Above it and the boom of the sea—the clamor of the cracked old bells just at midnight. Many bright tall candles and fragrant greens and lilies and two big braziers of coals near the door to warm our hands.” Jeffers alludes to a storm of a different sort in “Two Christmas-Cards,” written in December 1940, when the world was sliding into the abyss of war. His message, as one might expect, is not one of merriment and good cheer. He speaks, rather, of the profound mystery of existence, and of the hope one­ finds—must find—in the reverberant silence of darkness and despair. The second set of verses begins with this stanza:
          For an hour on Christmas eve
          And again on the holy day
          Seek the magic of past time,
          From this present turn away.
          Dark though our day,
          Light lies the snow on the hawthorn hedges
          And the ox knelt down at midnight.
With warmest best wishes,
James Karman
Emeritus Professor
Department of English
Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities
California State University, Chico

News from Jeffers Country
We are pleased to welcome LAWRENCE SPANN (Santa Barbara, CA) as a new member of RJA.
Two important publications are scheduled for release in January: Robinson Jeffers Family Travel Diaries, Volume One: British Isles, 1929, edited by DEBORAH WHITTLESEY SHARP and designed and typeset by NORRIS POPE (Tor House Press, 2022), and The Point Alma Venus Manuscripts by Robinson Jeffers, edited by TIM HUNT and ROBERT KAFKA (Stanford University Press, 2022). Information on how to order volume one of the Travel Diaries will be available soon. An order form for Point Alma Venus, with a 20% discount, is available here.
JOHN CUSATIS, a former executive director of RJA, will publish Conversations with Billy Collins (University Press of Mississippi, 2022) next summer. Copies can be pre-ordered from: A previous book in the same “Literary Conversations Series” is titled Conversations with John Banville (2020). Congratulations, John!
GEORGE HART, author of Inventing the Language to Tell It: Robinson Jeffers and the Biology of Consciousness (Fordham University Press, 2013) and former editor of Jeffers Studies, shares his thoughts on “The Poems of Robinson Jeffers” with Chris Evans on the June 27, 2021, Lit Matters podcast. Listen at:
DOROTEA BITTERLI, a student at Universität Bern, Switzerland, completed her work for a B.A. degree in September 2021 with a thesis titled “Martha Grahams und Robinson Jeffers’ Medea-Versionen am Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs 1945–1947: Von ‘human’ versus ‘not human’ zu ‘more than human’ und ‘inhuman.’”
“Self-Criticism in February” by Jeffers, along with a brief biographical portrait, was published in the San Diego Reader, February 4, 2021:
Jeffers’ poem “Vulture” appeared in the April 2021 issue of the Sonoma County Literary Update:
“Rock and Hawk” by Jeffers was featured on the Vox Populi website in October 2021:
The work of Jeffers is discussed in “Lo bestial de la crueldad” by LUIS JAVIER PLATA ROSAS, Nexos, 43 (Octubre 2021):