TOR HOUSE FOUNDATION
Spring 2013 Newsletter
Garden Party 2013
Please visit our home page for details on this year's Garden Party.
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FALL FESTIVAL October 4 and 5. JEFFERS: ARCHITECT AND BUILDER
Carmel Mayor's Tour
by Lorna Claerbout (Docent)
I was delighted that Carmel-by-the-Sea Mayor Jason Burnett recently accepted my invitation for a tour of Tor House and Hawk Tower. When he arrived, he was given a warm welcome by Foundation President Vince Huth and First Vice President Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts. Then I had the pleasure of taking him on a private tour. He seemed to enjoy both reading and hearing the poetry of Robinson Jeffers. He was amazed to learn that Jeffers completed his poems without editing from anyone else, which he said is quite different from his own writing experience as a mayor. Mayor Burnett told me that he built a cabin in Big Sur with his own hands from fallen trees that he milled himself and was therefore especially interested in Jeffers' experiences with construction. Since the Mayor has a young son of his own, I shared stories and photos of young Donnan and Garth. He commented that the child chair in the living room built by Jeffers' great grandfather inspired him to think about building one for his own son. After I shared some of my favorite Jeffers' lines about birds, including "A flight of pelicans is nothing lovelier to look at," he disclosed with a smile that his middle name is Kestrel.
by Deborah Fleming
Immigrants a century ago put up this house and barn,
carved bricks from local clay,
planed logs from nearby woods.
Since then whole families have grown
and gone. Now insect-hungry bats
hang in highest rafters, cut
at dusk sharp angles in the sky
while swallows plaster nests of mud,
horse hair, and straw.
Among reeds at the pond's
edge, wild geese and mallards
pile cattail stems and feathers.
We too fly in,
build with what we find,
next for a season.
Deborah Fleming, a Yeats and Jeffers scholar, was a featured speakers at the 2006 Tor House Fall Festival. This poem first appeared in Morning, Winter Solstice published in 2012 by The Vineyard Press, Port Jefferson, NY.
No Apology for Mundane Dreams
A tribute to Robert Brophy – Following Loosely a poem by Robinson Jeffers
by Bruce Blosser [Fort Bragg, California]
Caligula's screams never wake my dreams,
And bodies never screech from tongues when I slumber,
But such it seems are dreams of waking torture,
Where confines the strange self-inflicted wounds,
For which I plunder for a few lines of rhyming wonder?
But all I ever remember is mundane as dirt
Carved out my mind like the silver sinking twirl
Of calcium and Lyme, to perch upon a waking hurt,
Lest fish receive my quaking thunder.
Or perchance lightning is the grist of my grinding mind,
Melting sand as it strikes on the shore of time,
And plummets beneath the sea with quaking krill
Falling thus like shimmering ghosts, en mime:
"This night is not a thing made subtle by the mind,
Nor made subtler by the wind. Only rose petals list
Like angels on the breeze, to quit the quietude of this time."
Perch mates twixt ships, logs, and seashells
Larks the herald morning, that shines glitteringly
On a mirrored mantle above a dark-sooted hearth
Roaring like a winter sea, as oak gives heat to a sullen room,
Full of rugs and sharp-shined chairs,
Waiting for an about to begin…
But what waits? I see Brophy pointing to a bookshelf,
Never bothering to point out his own books, just pointing,
Between Proserpine and Petulance,
With a stance towards scuttled sea-ships, and a list
Towards the ever present presence of Everson and Stevenson,
But Wait! There is a knocker at the door –Steinbeck dons his hat
And "To A God Unknown" raises its head, then bows
And walks away… before I could even mention it!
But what of it, it’s nothing to do with us,
Standing on the bow of this ship of granite,
Stuck like a mast at the easterly edge of Carmel Bay,
And glistening in the dapple light that gleams between the mists
Of this October morning fog.
"Come in my old friend! Sit a while, certainly this old bench won't mind
The damp you shed upon us with your glistening fingers,
For I have never felt so welcome as I do
When the fog is thick as pea soup and drenching on cypress limbs
Like lovers thick as twigs."
A mother from another land, dressed like a Vogue cover,
Bends down on one knee, to tie her daughter's shoe,
And the daughter is away, flittering among the rocks and sedges
Along the cliffs of Whaler's Cove,
Happy as a tiger swallowtail in a glen full of spring wildflowers,
And easy with the grace of a child,
With her whole life ahead of her.
I have lifted too much surety of doubt and shame
In this life of mine, and I have no doubt I am the poorer for it:
From this point on I shall dip my cup no further into these things
That only limit me… I know I may have limits
But what they are, are no concern of mine,
For even as a hawk never wonders if it is equal to the flight,
I too should know that all who listen to their heart
Are more than equal to the task!
New and Renewed Memberships (December 2012 – March 2013)
LIFETIME MEMBERSHIPS ($1000)
Tom & Vicky Van Saun
PATRON MEMBERSHIP ($250)
George Lober/Kathy Dalesandro
SPONSOR MEMBERSHIPS ($100)
Christopher & Susan Williams
COUPLE, INDIVIDUAL, DOCENT AND SENIOR MEMBERSHIPS
Bob & Ann Allen
[Please note: listings reflect only those Lifetime memberships received since the last issue of the Newsletter, as well as new and renewed memberships for the same period. Generally, the Spring Issue lists memberships for December, January, February, and March. There are no listings in the Summer Issue because of space constraints (Poetry Prize winners are published in the Summer Issue). The Fall Issue contains memberships that fall between April and August of any given year and the Winter Issue lists September through November memberships.]
Contributions (December 2012 - March 2013)
Tom & Vicky Van Saun for Maintenance and Restoration
John Varady in support of the 2012 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize for Poetry and poetry performance activities
Jason & Melissa Burnett
Laura & Don Newmark, in memory of Ripple Huth
Robert Jean Taylor Fund
Contributions ($500 to $999)
John and LaRee Caughey Foundation
Edwin & Fumiko Cranston
Robinson Jeffers Assoc, memory of Ripple Huth
Jim & Paula Karman
Alice Phelan Sullivan Corp
Stanley Dutton Willis
Barbara Babcock for framing Weston print
Carol Courtney, in memory of Ripple Huth
Edwin & Fumiko Cranston
Amy Essick, in honor of Valerie Giusi
Michael Green, in memory of Ripple Huth
Joseph Hassett, in memory of Ripple Huth
Jim & Paula Karman
Frank & Barbara Keith
Roland & Martha Mace
Wm Perry/Paul Nelson Charitable Foundation
Robert & Diane Reid
Cpt & Mrs Repsher, in memory of Ripple Huth
Mr & Mrs. Jerome Ross
Jane Sanders, in memory of Ripple Huth
Mr. & Mrs. Sherwood Smith
Alex & Fran Vardamis, in memory of Ripple Huth
Contributions (to $99)
Susan Wallace Barnes, in memory Ripple Huth
Lorna Claerbout, in memory of Ripple Huth
Judy & Bruce Cowan
Ann Duncan, in memory of Ripple Huth
Steve & Pat Kutay, in memory of Ripple Huth
Lindsay/Myoung Jeffers, memory Ripple Huth
Susanne La Haye
Barbara Livingston, in memory of Ripple Huth
Francis & Mary Anne Lloyd
William T. Ondrechen
Bob & Lynda Sayre
Renate Wunsch, in memory of Ripple Huth
Sony Pictures, matching gift
News and Notes
With deep regret, the Foundation announces the passing of two longtime admirers of the poetry of Robinson Jeffers.
Elisabeth Anne Sherif passed away on February 11, 2013. Elisabeth was a concerned citizen, interior designer, artist, and poet. She has been very involved in shaping lives through both politics and the arts. A founding docent at Tor House and a devoted admirer of Jeffers, her elegant and inspiring presence at Robinson Jeffers Association Meetings and Tor House Festivals will be sorely missed.
Paula Anita Walling, born in 1938, passed away on March 14, 2013 after a long illness. Paula, a beloved teacher at the Captain Cooper School in Big Sur, was, as well, a dedicated environmentalist and talented author. Her Big Sur Inn: The Deetjen Legacy, published under the name Anita Alan and winner of the 2008 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Bronze Award, is a beautiful and thorough biography of Jeffers’ friend, Helmuth Deetjen, whose inn at Big Sur was a Jeffers’ favorite. The material constitutes a significant contribution to Jeffers biographical studies.
On a happier note, Alan Stacy, Tor House docent and Garden Party publicity director, was a featured speaker at the William Everson Centennial at UCSC. His topic was William Everson’s Fine-Print edition of Granite and Cypress.
Jeffers on the Web
Facebook enthusiasts might want to check out the docent-managed Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation page for chats, photos, and upcoming events. Also on Facebook, international admirers of Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) have formed a Group and welcome new members.
Google Alerts references articles about Jeffers and members of the Jeffers community, relevant blogs, Internet sales of Jeffers materials, and various other Jeffers-related announcements. To receive alerts go to http://www.google.com/alerts and provide an e-mail address. The service is free.
The Last Word from Jeffers
The Last Word from Jeffers
I built her a tower when I was young—
Sometime she will die—
I built it with my hands, I hung
Stones in the sky.
Old but still strong I climb the stone—
Sometime she will die—
Climb the steep rough steps alone,
And weep in the sky.
Never weep, never weep.
from Be Angry at the Sun (1941)
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