Welcome to The Big Read, a program from the National Endowment for the Arts. Designed to revitalize the role of literary reading in American culture, The Big Read hopes to unite communities through great literature, as well as inspire students to become lifelong readers.
The National Endowment for the Arts joins the Poetry Foundation to create a new program to celebrate great American poets and the historic sites associated with their lives and works. By honoring these writers and literary landmarks, we hope both to bring poetry to a broader audience and to help preserve and promote local cultural heritage and history.
This Teacher's Guide contains ten lessons to introduce students to the poetry of Robinson Jeffers. Jeffers's poems are emotionally direct, magnificently musical, and philosophically profound. No one has ever written more powerfully about the natural beauty of the American West. Determined to write a truthful poetry purged of ephemeral things, Jeffers cultivated a style.
Each lesson has five components: a focus topic, discussion activities, writing exercises, vocabulary words, and homework assignments. In addition, we have suggested essay topics, as well as handouts with more background information about the poems, the historical period, and the author. All lessons dovetail with the state language arts standards required for poetry.
Finally, The Big Read Reader’s Guide deepens your exploration with biography, timelines, and historical information. We hope these educational materials allow you to have fun with your students while introducing them to the work of a great American poet.
From the NEA and the Poetry Foundation, we wish you an exciting and productive school year.
Robinson Jeffers, 1948 (Photo by Nat Farbman/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Tor House (Photo by Horace Lyon, courtesy of the Tor House Foundation)
Jeffers as a young man (Photo by Nat Farbman/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Una Jeffers (Photo by Nat Farbman/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)