The Excesses of God: Robinson Jeffers as a Religious Figure

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An event of rare literary distinction, this book records the conjunction between two distinguished American poets, illuminating not only their work and their connection but also the deep strain of pantheistic mysticism in the American tradition. In 1934, William Everson came across a volume of Jeffers's poetry. In Everson's word, the power of Jeffers 'broke my own acquired agnosticism and compelled me to think of myself as a manifestly religious man. It is a power I still attest to in writing this study, a power which I continue to think of as an undiluted religious force'. It was after reading Jeffers that Everson's vocation as a poet emerged, and though they never met or corresponded, Everson has remained loyal and dedicated to Jeffers throughout his life. Everson, who published extensively under his religious name Brother Antoninus during his nearly twenty years as a Dominican lay brother, has become one of the most knowledgeable scholars and critics of Jeffers, as well as his one avowed poetic disciple. This book is written as a series of over-lapping and ever-widening meditations on Jeffers's sense of God, nature, the self, and language. The meditations take as text and illustration passages from Jeffers's poetry, passages that evidence 'the omnipresence of religious feeling that floods his verse,' and that form a unique collection of some of Jeffers's most profound work.<