19th Annual Robinson Jeffers Association Conference, February 15-17 2013, Charleston, SC, Keynote Speaker: Nikky Finney

full name / name of organization: 
John Cusatis / Robinson Jeffers Association

The 19th Annual Robinson Jeffers Association Conference
February 15-17, 2013, Charleston, SC
"Integrity is Wholeness": The Moral, Aesthetic, and Social Implications of Jeffers's Worldview
Keynote Speaker: Nikky Finney, 2011 National Book Award Winner

"Integrity is wholeness," wrote Robinson Jeffers. "The greatest beauty is / Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine / Beauty of the universe. Love that, not man / Apart from that …" These lines from "The Answer" capture Jeffers's worldview. Integrity was the hallmark of "divine beauty" for Jeffers, and it was the principle by which he guided his life and created his poems. He titled his worldview "Inhumanism" because at its core was the pressing call, as he writes in "Carmel Point," to "uncenter our minds from ourselves." Jeffers's life and art reflect his constant awe for the organic wholeness modeled by his natural surroundings, the ancient "pristine beauty" that "lives in the very grain of the granite."

The 2013 RJA Conference welcomes papers that discuss the effect Jeffers's worldview had on his life and art, which were, in the spirit of integrity, inextricably tied. Further, papers might discuss the implications of Jeffers's worldview for the world at large and the relevance it holds in 2013. It is difficult to discuss Jeffers without making reference to his outlook, so this conference offers room for a variety of topics, including comparisons with other writers. In fact, a panel that treats Jeffers in conjunction with the South Carolina poet James Dickey would be a welcome feature. A unique centerpiece for this event will be a panel titled "The State of Jeffers Scholarship," in which RJA invites those who have made substantial contributions to the growing cannon of Jeffers criticism, as either author or editor, to take part.

Recognizing Jeffers as a poet whose relevance reaches far beyond the Pacific Coast, RJA is pleased to hold the 2013 conference in Charleston, South Carolina, a city rich with natural, historical, and cultural attractions, well suited for the celebration of Robinson Jeffers. In 2011 Conde Nast named Charleston the most desirable city to visit in the United States, and in October 2012 the ranking was elevated to "best in the world." The conference will be hosted on the Bonds-Wilson Campus, home to two of the top-ranked high schools in the nation—Academic Magnet and School of the Arts– according to Newsweek and U.S News and World Report. Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in outdoor activities such as a guided kayak trip on the Charleston Harbor, a horse-drawn carriage tour of the Historic Downtown District, plantation visits and beach walks. In addition, RJA is proud to announce that South Carolina native and 2011 National Book Award Winner, Nikky Finney, will deliver the keynote address and give a reading on Friday night. Saturday night will feature first-rate Jeffers-related performances by student actors, writers, dancers, singers, musicians, and an exhibit from visual artists in the state-of-the-art Rose Maree Myers Theater.

Our conference coincides with the Southeastern Wildlife Expo, which draws a large crowd to Charleston, so it is encouraged that attendees make hotel reservations early. Rooms are being held at a variety of locations in the area –providing the options of convenience, affordability, or access to downtown (or a combination of all three)– and can be reserved through the RJA website.

Proposals for papers should be brief and e-mailed to John_Cusatis@charleston.k12.sc.us by 30 December 2012. Papers and presentations should not exceed twenty minutes.

You may visit www.robinsonjeffersassociation.org for more information and updates. Presenters must be members of the Robinson Jeffers Association. Membership information is available on the website. For more information about Charleston, SC visit the Charleston Visitors Bureau at www.charlestoncvb.com.