Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) is not only the greatest poet that California (and indeed the American West) has produced but a major poet of the twentieth century who occupies a prominent place in the tradition of American prophetic poetry.
Jeffers consciously set himself apart from the poetry of his generationby physical isolation at his home in Carmel, by his unusual poetic form, and by his stance as an anti-modernist.” Yet his work represents a profound, and profoundly original, artistic response to problems that shaped modernist poetry and that still perplex poets today.
For Jeffers, as for no other important modern American poet, there has never been a collected poems, not even a truly representative selected poemsthe current Selected Poetry, first published in 1938, contains no poems from the last three volumes published during Jeffers’s lifetime or from his posthumous volume. Now, for the first time, all of Jeffers’s completed poems, both published and unpublished, are presented in a single, comprehensive, and textually authoritative edition of five volumes.
The present volume is in three parts. Poetry 1903-1920” consists of some of the poems published while Jeffers was a college student, two early collections (Flagons and Apples and Californians), and a number of poems that were never published or were recently rediscovered. Introductions, Forewords, and Miscellaneous Prose, 1920-1948” gathers all the major prose works. Unpublished Poems and Fragments, 1910-1962” is mostly material that Jeffers never published, and apparently never tried to publish. The fifth volume of commentary will contain various procedural explanations and textual evidence for the texts presented in the edition, as well as transcriptions of working notes for the poems and of alternate and discarded passages. The Collected Poetry is designed by Adrian Wilson.