The Beauty of Things

Film & Audio Published September 13, 2017

In August 2017, I was invited to give a talk at Tor House, former home of the Californian poet Robinson Jeffers. Jeffers was one of the inspirations for the Dark Mountain Project, which takes its name from one of his poems, so it was with a sense of having come full circle that I spoke for half an hour, in the living room of the poet’s home, about his work, my work and the place of both in the world.


  • Alan Stacy

    Paul, thanks for posting this audio version. It is great to hear it again. Your trip to Tor House received rave reviews, so I am reposting this link on the Tor House Facebook page and I’ll be posting the videos of you and Martin on our web site next month. Just finished your essay “In The Black Chamber” from your collected essays, and it’s one of the most interesting and powerful pieces I’ve read in a long time.

    Best wishes on this next stage of your journey. I hope we meet again someday.

    Their Beauty Has More Meaning

    Yesterday morning enormous the moon hung low on the
    Round and yellow-rose in the glow of dawn;
    The night herons flapping home wore dawn on their
    wings. Today
    Black is the ocean, black and sulphur the sky,
    And white seas leap. I honestly do not know which day
    is more beautiful.
    I know that tomorrow or next year or in twenty years
    I shall not see these things—and it does not matter, it
    does not hurt.
    They will be here. And when the whole human race
    Has been like me rubbed out, they will still be here:
    storms, moon and ocean,
    Dawn and the birds. And I say this: their beauty
    has more meaning
    Than the whole human race and the race of birds. — Jeffers

  • Kris Graham

    I enjoyed the talk, Paul. If you ever get to Houston, TX, let me know. I’ll drive in from my little town to meet you. Take care of yourself and your family. I look forward to seeing what you do in the future.

  • Ron Parry

    Thanks for a terrific talk, Paul. Jeffers has been a guide for me since I first encountered him in my teenage years. I live for beauty, as I suppose he did. Its time for his voice to be heard once again. I think he offers the only kind of hope that will sustain us as we face a difficult future.

  • David Beers

    Thank you Paul for bringing Jeffers into our 2017 world. I
    first found Jeffers 60 years ago when I was 15. His voice launched me into poetry, college and adulthood. And now in old age I climb these rough stone steps not alone.

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