Jones Very, 1813 - 1880

Jones Very was an extraordinary Transcendentalist and member of the Transcendental Club.  In fall 1838 he experienced a period of radical ecstatic mysticism so intense that many thought he had become insane.  During this remarkable period he wrote approximately a third of his nearly 900 poems, illuminated, as he believed, directly by the Holy Spirit.  Ralph Waldo Emerson published a number of Very's inspired poems, as well as remarkable insights on Shakespeare, in Essays and Poems in 1839.  Other ardent supporters included Amos Bronson Alcott, James Freeman Clarke, and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody.  In his desire to write and speak only as the Spirit bade him, Very established himself as a quintessential transcendental poet, despite the Hebraic diction of his poems.  In the most profound of his utterances he assumes a divine persona, and his unpublished prose work Epistles to the Unborn is definitely not for the uninitiated.