"Not Man Apart"
No assemblage of words better portrays how I feel about the beauty and integrity of our universe as does this poem, The Answer, by Robinson Jeffers. I memorized it when I was a teenager. I often whisper it to myself, and only have to step into my back yard, and gaze skyward on a clear night to be reminded that, "the greatest beauty is organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe..." and why we might want to "Love that, not man apart from that..." Every moment I live, observe, follow, immerse in the wild, only fortifies this idea more, which has always seemed so obvious to me anyway. I suppose that all along I have subconsciously tried to provide visual elements to Jeffers' writing with some of my photographs. I think all artists attempt to do this with an important and inspired piece of writing they relate to. It has been a formidable and somewhat futile undertaking given how perfect the picture is that Jeffers paints for me with this and other poems.
I first became aware of Robinson Jeffers through the Exhibit Format Book, "Not Man Apart", lines from Robinson Jeffers , Photographs of the Big Sur Coast, edited by David Brower and published by the Sierra Club in 1965. I was quite taken with the words of Robinson Jeffers woven amongst the great photographs of the Big Sur coast and the Monterey Peninsula. The photographers who contributed to this book are all legends in their own time, my time, and for all time; Ansel Adams, Wynn Bullock, Steve Crouch, William E. Garnett, Philip Hyde, Eliot Porter, Cole Weston, Edward Weston, Don Worth, Cedric Wright and others. The Sierra Club Exhibit Format Series of books, conceived by Nancy Newhall, Ansel Adams, with David Brower who supported and published many titles, celebrated the earth's wild places in a way books had never done before. These books, in no small way, contributed to my appreciation of wild places, and the greatness of nature and natural systems. They also introduced me to great writing, great ideas, and the likes of Robinson Jeffers. I was quite honored when thirteen years later David Brower would publish an exhibit format book of my marine mammal photography, "Wake of the Whale", 1979, Friends of the Earth/EP Dutton. The real editor of "Not Man Apart" turns out to be David Brower's son Kenneth Brower, who authored my book, "Wake of the Whale". Ken was twenty when "Not Man Apart" was published. Thirteen years later he showed up on my doorstep in Maine to begin work on our book. Since then we have shared many a wild moment together around the planet.
For more information on Robinson Jeffers I have provided a link to the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation. In their words, "The 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. The Foundation sponsors events and publishes material designed to preserve and extend the cultural and literary legacy of Robinson Jeffers, poet of California. Membership is open to anyone interested in supporting the aims and goals of the Foundation and in learning more about the life, works, and home of the Poet." Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation
I have also provided a link to the The
Robinson Jeffers Association which again in their words is, "a
community of persons interested in the life and work of the California
I would like to thank Stanford University Press for permission to reproduce the Robinson Jeffers poem, The Answer, on this web site as well as the excerpts. Stanford University Press
THANKS, ROBERT FROST
Do you have hope for the future?
© David Ray
And Thanks to David Ray For This Wonderful Poem
and For Permission To Publish It Here!