Stanford University Press receives the 2016 Notable Contribution to Publishing Prize.
Last night Professor James Karman and Stanford University Press were honored at the 85th Annual California Book Awards. The Collected Letters of Robinson Jeffers—the third and final volume of which debuted last year—was recognized by the Commonwealth Club of California with their 2016 Notable Contribution to Publishing Prize.
The publication of the third installment of the letters of poet Robinson Jeffers dovetailed with the publication of a biography of the seminal Californian poet’s life and works, also written by Karman (and reviewed glowingly in The Wall Street Journal). Together they marked the culmination of a 15-year collaboration between the Chico-based author and professor and Stanford University Press. This comprehensive series of letters in tandem with Robinson Jeffers: Poet and Prophet unveil the hidden worlds of one of the most reclusive, controversial, and artistically divergent poets of the 20 century. His letters and Karman’s biography afford an intimate view not only into Jeffers’ own oeuvre, but to the literary culture of California writ large, during a tumultuous chapter in American history.
Today, Jeffers’ Tor House in Carmel is still listed among the must-see literary landmarks of California. His life and works, however, are perhaps less well known outside of the state. A prolific, critically acclaimed career in poetry, was, Karman argues, likely eclipsed by Jeffers’ singular political views—views that had a profound influence on his art. Eschewing nationalist fervors in the midst of two World Wars and deriding what he saw as an anthropocentric disregard for nature well before the emergence of the modern environmentalist movement, Jeffers’ poetry and thought contain aesthetic, social, and ecological insights of enduring relevance—with, in some cases, urgent implications for our present.
Winners of the 2016 California Book Awards:
For James Karman, who has edited all three volumes of Jeffers’ letters, the publication of the final installment of that collection and his biography of Jeffers constitute the eighth and ninth books, respectively, that he has penned on this pioneering poet. They are the crowning achievement of years of sustained research and engagement with Jeffers’ contribution to American letters.
For Stanford University Press, these recent books round out a robust publication list dedicated to the groundbreaking California writer—a list that includes not only Karman’s biography and letters, but also five volumes of his collected works, multiple critical investigations of his poetry by literary scholars, and even a book of landscape photography annotated by Jeffers’ poetry (the latter was also edited by Karman).
We are honored to receive this award with our author, honored to be counted among an august list of California Book Award recipients, and most of all, grateful to James Karman for a years-long collaboration that has been both fruitful and rewarding.
Winner of the Notable Contribution to Publishing Award: