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Photo by Jessica Malikowski

The Foundation sponsors events and publishes material designed to preserve and extend the cultural and literary legacy of Robinson Jeffers, poet of California.




The Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation, affiliated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is a nonprofit organization of volunteer members established in 1978 to acquire, maintain and provide for public access to Tor House, Hawk Tower and the surrounding gardens. 





Tor House Garden Party - Sunday, May 3, 2 - 5 p.m.


Tor House is a house of poetry.  It is also a house of music.  Una collected Irish ballads.  She also collected reed organs, also known as melodeons.  There are several in the house, and one, in Una's time, was in her private retreat.  The Tower Melodeon, restored after serious damage from dampness, is now protected inside the house.  Una, in a 1934 essay in the London Poetry Review, described her "spinet with piles of old Gaelic ballads [that] stands beside an open fire."  At past Garden Parties and other Tor House events, the melodeons and the grand  piano in the parlor have been played.  But until now, the piano was but a feeble shadow of itself.  This magnificent, fully restored instrument will be the centerpiece of the 2015 Garden Party.   


As Robin and Una Jeffers' Tor House was being finished in 1920, a lone piano mover carried a Steinway Grand Piano through the front door and settled it into its new home.  There is would remain, entertaining many guests, played not only by Una Jeffers, but by local friends such as Nol Sullivan and Ansel Adams and by world renowned musicians from Vladimir Horowitz to George Gershwin.  The music of the piano resounded throughout Tor House for many decades.  It fell silent upon Unas death.  Now, the piano has found its true voice again, filling the small house built of sea-tossed granite with joy.  


So come to the annual Tor House Garden Party, this first Sunday in May, and hear once again the beautiful sound of Una's Grand Piano, brought back to its full resonate voice by the generous support of Paula Karman and the skillful craftsmanship of Russell Brown.  On the last day of tuning before the piano's first public performance, Russell paused in his labors and, gazing out the sea window, as Robin and Una had over the years, he witnessed a hawk alight on the garden pathway.  The hawk, pausing to stare through the Tor House window, seemed to nod in appreciation.  Perhaps he gave his blessing before he flew off.  We think Robin approved of the labor of love that has restored Una's piano to its full glory.  


Tor House and the spring gardens will be filled with music.  MaryClare Martin, a favorite over these many years, will be at the Steinway.  Ed Jarvis will, once more, be the piper.  Young musicians of the Sea Otter Quartet will also perform: Grace Padgett as 1st Violin, Jane Yang as 2nd Violin, Henry Loh on the Viola, and Jacob Hoadley on the Cello.  Jane Yang, also an award winning pianist, will take turns at the piano.  Besides the music, there will be plein air painters and knowledgeable docents and the opportunity to explore Tor House and Hawk Tower at your own pace.  Photography will be permitted on this special day.  Tea and refreshments will be served in the garden and in the Jeffers' dining room.  Admission to the event is $15 per person.  Children must be over the age of ten.  Please, no pets of any age. 


Save the Date


Friday - Sunday, October 2 -4 - The Fall Festival, with the theme Jeffers and War


2015 Poetry Series


See our events page for information on our 2015 Poetry Series.


Announcement of the 2015 Tor House Prize for Poetry


The annual Tor House Prize for Poetry is a living memorial to American poet Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962).  


Prizes include $1,000 for an original, unpublished poem not to exceed three pages in length, $200 for Honorable Mention.   The final Judge for 2015 is  Marilyn Chin.  The contest is open to well-crafted poetry in all styles, ranging from experimental work to traditional forms, including short narrative poems.  Each poem should be typed on 8 1/2" by 11" paper, and be no longer than three pages.  On a cover sheet only, include:  name, mailing address, telephone number and email; titles of poems; bio optional.   Multiple and simultaneous submissions are welcome. 


There is a reading fee of $10 for the first three poems; $15 for up to six poems; and $2.50 for each additional poem.  Checks and money orders should be made out to Tor House Foundation.   The postmark deadline for submissions is March 14, 2015   The Prize winner will be announced by May 15.  Include an SASE for announcement of the Prize winner.  Poems will not be returned.


For more information, contact us by email.   Mail poems, check or money order, and SASE to:


          Poetry Prize Coordinator

          Tor House Foundation

          Box 223240

          Carmel, CA 93922


Winners of the 2014 and prior year prizes can be found in our Poetry Prize pages.


Tor House Poetry Series

Check out the Poetry Series on our Events page.

An Introduction to Jeffers

Tor House docent Lucas Seastrom has produced an introductory film about Jeffers for poet Jimmy Santiago Baca to use at his speaking events.  Many people at Tor House helped with its production.  You can view it on YouTube at this link.

Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Death of Robinson Jeffers -

The Poet Is Dead Broadside

A eulogy by William Everson for Jeffers.  Etching of Tor House in snow by Tom Killion (  Printed on handmade paper by Peter and Donna Thomas, Santa Cruz. 11x15, limited edition of 50 prints, $80 each (includes tax) to benefit Tor House Foundation. 

After Jeffers passed in 1962, William Everson, along with many other followers of Jeffers' work, were asked to write elegies to the poet and his life's work.  Bill Everson, a devoted follower of Jeffers wrote "The Poet is Dead" as his tribute.  This commemorative broadside presents the first three stanzas of the poem.  The second stanza was added a few years later to emphasize the environment surrounding the night of Jeffers passing:


Snow on the headland,

Rare on the coast of California. 

Snow on Point Lobos,

Falling all night,

Filling the creeks and the back country,

The strangely beautiful

Setting of death.


These lines were used by the artist Tom Killion to depict Tor House (and in another etching, Pt Lobos) in snowfall.  This aspect of the poem underlines Jeffers' tight association with the environment of his home in Carmel, California. 


Peter Thomas was commissioned by Tor House Foundation to print the broadside.  Peter worked directly with Everson at Lime Kiln Press at UCSC on the monumental book Granite and Cypress, a fine art book tribute to Jeffers poetry.  Peter later printed a limited edition book of The Poet is Dead for Everson, from which this broadside is inspired. 


You may purchase the broadside directly from Tor House when you visit. Or contact Tor House Docent and Photography Archivist Alan Stacy at for more information or to purchase a print by mail. $80 plus shipping.  Prints 1 - 19 are sold.


The Tor House Foundation just received a digitally remastered 1967 Robinson Jeffers Documentary video link from Alex Cherian, Film Archivist from the SF Bay Area TV Archive to view.  The publicly available film link Rhapsody & Requiem - The Life of Robinson Jeffers is now available to view online at  This is a digitally remastered KPIX-TV 1967 documentary film about Robinson Jeffers: Rhapsody & Requiem - The Life of Robinson Jeffers.  This online video is best viewed on the full screen mode of your computer.  It is a very fascinating video.

On-Line Bookstore

Our publications include several which are available only from the Tor House bookstore.  Other merchandise for sale includes Jeffers-related CDs, DVDs, note cards and works of art.

A Tor House Exclusive - Tor House is pleased to announce the re-issuing of The Stone Mason of Tor House by Melba Berry Bennett.

Melba Berry Bennett won the affection of both Jeffers and Una and after Una's death became Jeffers' secretary and worked with him until the end of his life.  The result is a biography rich in detail and true to its subject.  Jeffers did not reveal himself often to others, so his and Una's friendship with Bennett represented an unusual opportunity for Bennett to produce an authoritative, sensitive portrait of the poet.

This handsome edition, with slipcase, is available exclusively through the Tor House Bookstore, including at our online store.


The mission of the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation is:

  • To preserve Tor House, Hawk Tower and their collections

  • To promote the literary and philosophical legacy of Robinson Jeffers for the enrichment and enlightenment of the public

  • To serve the community as a cultural resource

(Adopted by the Board of Trustees, March 1998)

For more information on the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation, our events and our organization, click on a link below.



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Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation * 26304 Ocean View Ave * Carmel, CA 93923 * 831-624-1813 * Fax 831-624-3696