Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, spring 2018

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Poetry in Stone Robinson Jeffer s' Landmar k Tor House B Y M I C H A E L C H AT F I E L D T oday the property is nearly lost in its surroundings. The wide-open Carmel Point granite knoll where revered American poet Robinson Jeffers, his wife Una and twin sons Donnan and Garth lived is swal- lowed by the shadows of its neighboring multi- million-dollar homes. Jeffers' hands touched each and every stone of the original buildings and neighboring tower ("tor" is Celtic for "tower") as they were laid in place. For the orig- inal house, he hired a stone mason to whom he apprenticed himself to learn the trade; the rest he did alone. It was begun in 1918, on 36 lots the couple purchased, the former site of the Monterey Peninsula's first golf course. Retired Monterey Peninsula College instruc- tor Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts is vice president of the Tor House Foundation, and a keen student of the poet and his home. He is intimately famil- iar with every aspect of the property and takes a genuine—and infectious—delight in sharing the secrets of Tor House with tour groups. The property consists of several buildings: the original house, a garage (later converted to a kitchen), a dining room, two larger buildings and the pièce de résistance: Tor House. These sturdy stone buildings were built almost entirely of material gathered from their site. "Jeffers was kind of an ultra-athlete," Ruchowitz-Roberts says. "His resting pulse was " To make stone love stone, you will f ind some remnant. But if you should look in your idleness after ten thousand years: It is the granite knoll on the granite And lava tongue in the midst of the bay, by the mouth of the Carmel River-valley, these four will remain In the change of names. " C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 8 201 Photo: Courtesy of The Tor House Foundation

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