CFP: Robinson Jeffers and Change (12/15/05; 2/17/06-2/19/06)

full name / name of organization: 
Kafka, Rob
contact email: 



Evolution, Revolution and Change: Social and Natural Forces in Jeffers's



Brazil Ranch, Big Sur, California, Friday-Sunday, February 17-19, 2006


Jeffers was interested in timeless forces at work in the individual, in
nature, the cosmos, in cultures. One might say that Jeffers's poetic career
was inspired and in fact turned on his attempt to deal with, understand, and
embrace these dynamic energies. A modernist by necessity, he seemed to be
always just resisting the question, "So what does it all mean?" In this
tension in his work, to acknowledge forces without asking why, the reader
witnesses one of the great interior monologues of the 20th Century. He was
mesmerized by the relentless pounding of the ocean on the shoreline and
cliffs of northern California as well as the death and birth of stars. He
simultaneously struggled against and attempted to celebrate the dissolution
of cultures and individuals. His life and work were shaped by his
engagement with these protean energies. His own house-building and poem-
building practices were thought through this lens of change: "Stone-cutters
fighting time with marble, you fore-defeated / Challengers of oblivion . .


The CFP invites papers on this most important 20th Century theme: change.
The 20th Century grappled with theories of entropy, expanding universes,
political dialectics, dialogics, evolution, the stability of the concept of
self. Physics, astronomy, and modernist theories of all kinds questioned
assumed notions of permanence, perspective, and normalcy. Jeffers
epitomizes these concerns as he contemplates the end of America, the end of
the life of the sun, and the beginning of new, unimag- inable lives on the
other side of the known and the familiar, the expected and accepted.
Frequently assumed to be a misanthropist because of his themes, Jeffers
seems much more now a thinker very much in touch with the most important
issues of his day, including politics, natural sciences, psych- ology and


We encourage a broad set of papers that deal with change as a defining
aspect of Jeffers's work as well as 20th century scientific and cultural
life. Currently, in the early 21st century, there appears to be a political
and cultural backlash to change and ambiguity. Therefore, in addition to
assessing Jeffers, change, and the 20th Century, it is hoped that some
papers will also read Jeffers as he might "read" current cultural and
political trajectories.


The Brazil Ranch, very recently acquired by the Forest Service, is a
stunning 1200 acre reserve overlooking the Pacific in the heart of Jeffers
Country. These ridges are among those that Jeffers's characters Arthur
Barclay and Clare Walker traversed in their wanderings. Details will be
forth-coming to both attendees and presenters. We hope to allow for a
2-hour hike to the top of Hurricane Ridge for a sweeping view of the coast
from Yankee Point in the north all the way down to Point Sur to the south.
For a preview, go to <> , and
check out the film production clips.


The RJA invites proposals and panels that explore Jeffers's treatment of the
theme of change. While acknowledging the normal practice of reading a paper,
the RJA encourages well thought out, well timed, and conversationally
delivered presentations that engage the audience. Proposals for the poetry
reading at the Friday evening reception will also be accepted. Email
proposals to Prof Ron Olowin at
<> by December 15, 2005, or write:


Prof. Ron Olowin

2006 RJA Conference Coordinator

Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

St. Mary's College of California

1928 Saint Mary's Road

Moraga, CA 94575


* For papers or panels: A 250 word proposal or abstract.

* For Friday evening poetry reading in Carmel or environs: send
materials for reading (not to exceed a 10-minute reading).

* Complete contact information: name, address (ground and
electronic), phone number, affiliation, and a short bio for introduction

              From the Literary Calls for Papers Mailing List
                         Full Information at
         or write Jennifer Higginbotham:
Received on Sun Sep 04 2005 - 08:46:43 EDT