CSU, Chico News

Emeritus Faculty Member Wins Awards for Jeffers Scholarship

Date: 03-01-2016

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico professor emeritus James Karman, considered the world’s foremost expert on the life of poet Robinson Jeffers, has received two honors this month for his scholarship and writing.

The Robinson Jeffers Association has awarded Karman the Lawrence Clark Powell Award for Distinguished Scholarship in recognition of his three-volume “Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers, with Selected Letters of Una Jeffers” and the biography “Robinson Jeffers: Poet and Prophet.”

Both the third volume of the letters and the biography of the noted California poet were published last year by Stanford University Press.

The award was presented to Karman at the annual Robinson Jeffers Association conference in Carmel Feb. 20.

Lawrence Clark Powell, the award’s namesake who died in 2001, was the author of more than 100 books, including “Robinson Jeffers, the Man and His Work.”

Karman has also received the 2016 Oscar Lewis Award for Contributions to Western History from the Book Club of California.

The award honors Karman’s two recent books as well as “Stones of the Sur: Poetry by Robinson Jeffers, Photographs by Morley Baer,” which Karman edited in 2002. It is named after Oscar Lewis, a San Francisco author, historian, and Book Club of California secretary from 1921-1946, who died in 1992.

Karman taught literature, religion and humanities at CSU, Chico from 1977 to 2003. Prior to his recent publications, he had published seven books and other articles and book reviews on Jeffers, who in the early part of the 20th century was one of the nation’s most famous poets, yet is much less well known today.

In a Sept. 5 review of Karman’s new works, the Wall Street Journal expressed hope that his books would reinvigorate interest in Jeffers, adding, “The time has come to bring Jeffers back to a wide readership.”