Selected Narratives

I’ve been thinking for a while about ideal anthologies. Sometimes it seems that mixing long and short poems tends to make an anthology hard to browse, and the reader can have difficulty setting a pace. One solution is to divide an anthology into separate volumes of long and short poems. Here’s one possible listing of longer poems, adding up to about 514 pages of verse:

  1. Tamar (1924) – the one that started it all. Nature and Narcissa.
  2. Roan Stallion (1925) – this one flows well, introduces the “power of myth.”
  3. Cawdor (1928) – passion will not take no for an answer.
  4. Thurso’s Landing (1932) – introduces hawk-consciousness as a narrative theme.
  5. Give Your Heart to the Hawks (1933) – turns Inhumanism on its head, introduces human consciousness as a major narrative theme.
  6. Solstice (1935) – One portion Mother Earth and one portion Medea.
  7. Mara (1941) – Thus conscience makes cowards of us all.
  8. The Love and the Hate (1948) – grizzly zombie-Christ narrative.

I like the start of Hungerfield, and I can certainly guess why it’s about cheating death, but I don’t like it quite enough to knock out any of the narratives on the list.

Dear Judas is perhaps my favorite Jeffers play, for its creative treatment of an iconic “love affair.” I prefer the narrative Solstice as a treatment of Medea.

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