STRONG MUSIC AND HARD-EDGED WISDOM:
ROBINSON JEFFERS AS POLITICAL POET
RJA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA
FEBRUARY 19-20, 2005
Robinson Jeffers was one of the most overtly political major American poets of the twentieth century. Some of his later work was so incendiary that his publisher, Random House, included a "Publisher's Note" at the beginning of The Double Axe and Other Poems (1948) which includes the statement "Random House feels compelled to go on record with its disagreement over some of the political views pronounced by the poet in this volume." While the Random House para-censorship commentary tends to point towards overtly political concerns (war and governance), we encourage a broader contemplation of the political, emphasizing notions of social relationships involving authority or power. With this idea in mind we can see how much, if not all, of Jeffers poetry was political, as it concerns the natural environment, war and violence, sexuality, extreme mental and physical disease, a revolutionary cosmology he called Inhumanism, gender roles, scientific exploration and its ramifications, intergenerational conflict, love and human misery, judgment and burden—all of which are themes that explore social relationships involving authority or power. What are the sources of Jeffers's fiercely independent political vision, how does that vision relate to his larger creative project, and how did he conceive of the body politic in his work? These are frequently neglected questions which go to the heart of Jeffers's work and which, unlike many of his contemporaries, he sought to answer in bold if unpopular ways.
The Robinson Jeffers Association invites proposals for papers and panels that explore Jeffers’s strange and lasting influence, especially as it pertains to the political nature of his poetry, to be presented at their annual conference at the University of Nevada, Reno, February 19-20, 2005. The RJA welcomes proposals for individual papers, complete panels, and multi-media presentations (Power-Point, slide presentations, etc.); it also welcomes proposals for our annual poetry reading to be held during the two-day conference. Interested parties should send:
A 250-word proposal or abstract for papers, panels, or multi-media presentations.
A selection of poetry for the poetry reading (not more than 10 pages).
Complete contact information: name, address (both ground and electronic, please!), phone number, institutional affiliation, and a short bio to use in introducing each panelist or poet.
This conference is jointly sponsored by the Robinson Jeffers Association and the Literature and Environment Program in the Department of English at the University Nevada, Reno.
Minot State University
500 University Ave. W.
Minot, ND 58707
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