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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

12. Migrant

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
- Rudolfo A. Anaya
- Carlos Bulosan
- Robinson Jeffers
- Alberto Ríos
- Tomas Rivera
- Muriel Rukeyser
- Upton Sinclair
- John Steinbeck
- Henry David Thoreau
- Helena Maria Viramontes
- Suggested
•  Timeline
•  Activities

Authors: Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962)

[7599] Euphronios, Calyx-Krater (ca. 515 BC), courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Bequest of Joseph H. Durkee, Gift of Darius Ogden Mills and Gift of C. Ruxton Love, by exchange, 1972. (1972.11.10) Photograph © 1999 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Robinson Jeffers Activities
This link leads to artifacts, teaching tips and discussion questions for this author.
Robinson Jeffers was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father was a minister and professor of Old Testament literature. When he was young, Jeffers traveled extensively in Europe, where he received his early education. In the United States, he attended Occidental College, the University of Southern California, and the University of Washington. An inheritance allowed Jeffers to devote himself to the writing of poetry. His first volume of verse was completed in 1912, and he published over twenty-five volumes of poetry during his life. In 1913, he moved to Carmel, California, and built a stone cottage and a large observation tower overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Much of his verse captures the images of his surroundings on the coast.

Published in 1924, Tamar and Other Poems demonstrates Jeffers's desire to break with the poetics of the past and write original, vigorous, and realistic verse. Here as in most of his works, Jeffers's major themes are lust and humankind's destructive self-obsessions. Jeffers integrates a broad knowledge of literature, religion, philosophy, languages, myth, and the sciences in his work. He represents a pantheistic universe that is revealed through constant and sometimes brutal change. Many of his images connote cycles of creation, growth, and destruction. Jeffers's representations of defaced and dehumanized landscapes have influenced modern environmentalists and writers of "eco-literature."

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