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  • 1. Robert Lee Frost (1874 –1963) Robert Frost (1874-1963) was born in San Francisco, California. His father William Frost, a journalist and an ardent Democrat, died when Frost was about eleven years old. His Scottish mother, the former Isabelle Moody, resumed her career as a schoolteacher to support her family. The family lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts, with Frost's paternal grandfather, William Prescott Frost, who gave his grandson a good schooling. In 1892 Frost graduated from a high school and attended Darthmouth College for a few months. Over the next ten years he held a number of jobs. Frost worked among others in a textile mill and taught Latin at his mother's school in Methuen, Massachusetts. In 1894 the New York Independent published Frost's poem 'My Butterfly' and he had five poems privately printed. Frost worked as a teacher and continued to write and publish his poems in magazines. In 1895 he married a former schoolmate, Elinor White; they had six children. From 1897 to 1899 Frost studied at Harvard, but left without receiving a degree. He moved to Derry, New Hampshire, working there as a cobbler, farmer, and teacher at Pinkerton Academy and at the state normal school in Plymouth. When he sent his poems to The Atlantic Monthly they were returned with this note: "We regret that The Atlantic has no place for your vigorous verse." In 1912 Frost sold his farm and took his wife and four young children to England. There he published his first collection of poems, A BOY'S WILL, at the age of 39. It was followed by NORTH BOSTON (1914), which gained international reputation. The collection contains some of Frost's best-known poems: 'Mending Wall,' 'The Death of the Hired Man,' 'Home Burial,' 'A Servant to Servants,' 'After Apple-Picking,' and 'The Wood-Pile.' The poems, written with blank verse or looser free verse of dialogue, were drawn from his own life, recurrent losses, everyday tasks, and his loneliness. While in England Frost was deeply influenced by such English poets as Rupert Brooke. After returning to the US in 1915 with his family, Frost bought a farm near Franconia, New Hampshire. When the editor of The Atlantic Monthly asked for poems, he gave the very ones that had previously been rejected. Frost taught later at Amherst College (1916-38) and Michigan universities. In 1916 he was made a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. On the same year appeared his third collection of verse, MOUNTAIN INTERVAL, which contained such poems as 'The Road Not Taken,' 'The Oven Bird,' 'Birches,' and 'The Hill Wife.' Frost's poems show deep appreciation of natural world and sensibility about the human aspirations. His images - woods, stars, houses, brooks, - are usually taken from everyday life. With his down-toearth approach to his subjects, readers found it is easy to follow the poet into deeper truths, without being burdened with pedantry. Often Frost used the rhythms and vocabulary of ordinary speech or even the looser free verse of dialogue. In 1920 Frost purchased a farm in South Shaftsbury, Vermont, near Middlebury College where he cofounded the Bread Loaf School and Conference of English. His wife died in 1938 and he lost four of his children. Two of his daughters suffered mental breakdowns, and his son Carol, a frustrated poet and farmer, committed suicide. Frost also suffered from depression and the
  • 2. continual self-doubt led him to cling to the desire to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. After the death of his wife, Frost became strongly attracted to Kay Morrison, whom he employed as his secretary and adviser. Frost also composed for her one of his finest love poems, 'A Witness Tree.' Frost travelled in 1957 with his future biographer Lawrance Thompson to England and to Israel and Greece in 1961. He participated in the inauguration of President John Kennedy in 1961 by reciting two of his poems. When the sun and the wind prevented him from reading his new poem, 'The Preface', Frost recited his old poem, 'The Gift Outright', from memory. Frost travelled in 1962 in the Soviet Union as a member of a goodwill group. He had a long talk with Premier Nikita Khrushchev, whom he described as "no fathead"; as smart, big and "not a coward." Frost also reported that Khrushchev had said the United States was "too liberal to fight," it caused a considerable stir in Washington. Among the honors and rewards Frost received were tributes from the U.S. Senate (1950), the American Academy of Poets (1953), New York University (1956), and the Huntington Hartford Foundation (1958), the Congressional Gold Medal (1962), the Edward MacDowell Medal (1962). In 1930 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Amherst College appointed him Saimpson Lecturer for Life (1949), and in 1958 he was made poetry consultant for the Library of Congress. At the time of his death on January 29, 1963, Frost was considered a kind of unofficial poet laureate of the US. "I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world," Frost once said. In his poems Frost depicted the fields and farms of his surroundings, observing the details of rural life, which hide universal meaning. His independent, elusive, half humorous view of the world produced such remarks as "I never take my side in a quarrel", or "I'm never serious except when I'm fooling." Although Frost's works were generally praised, the lack of seriousness concerning social and political problems of the 1930s annoyed some more socially orientated critics. Later biographers have created a complex and contradictory portrait of the poet. In Lawrance Thompson's humorless, three-volume official biography (1966-1976) Frost was presented as a misanthrope, anti-intellectual, cruel, and angry man, but in Jay Parini's work (1999) he was again viewed with sympathy: ''He was a loner who liked company; a poet of isolation who sought a mass audience; a rebel who sought to fit in. Although a family man to the core, he frequently felt alienated from his wife and children and withdrew into reveries. While preferring to stay at home, he traveled more than any poet of his generation to give lectures and readings, even though he remained terrified of public speaking to the end..." Robert Frost (1874-1963), four-time Pulitzer Prize winning American poet, teacher and lecturer wrote many popular and oft-quoted poems including ―After Apple-Picking‖, ―The Road Not Taken‖, ―Home Burial‖ and ―Mending Wall‖; I And And We To And We let on set keep each some have my a neighbour day we the wall the wall the boulders are loaves to use a know beyond the meet to walk the between us once between us as we that have fallen to and some so nearly spell to make them hill; line again. go. each. balls balance:
  • 3. ―Stay where you are until our backs are We wear our fingers rough with handling Oh, just another kind of out-door One on a side. It comes to little There where it is we do not need the He is all pine and I am apple My apple trees will never get And eat the cones under his pines, I tell He only says, ―Good fences make good neighbours.‖ turned!‖ them. game, more: wall: orchard. across him. At times bittersweet, sometimes ironic, or simply marveling at his surroundings, one can also see autobiographical details in Frost‘s works; he suffered devastating losses in his life including the untimely deaths of his sister, two of his children and his wife. He knew the soul‘s depths of psychic despair but was also capable of delighting in birch trees ‘loaded with ice a sunny winter morning’. While memorialising the rural landscape, vernacular, culture and people of New England in his traditional verse style, his poems also transcend the boundaries of time and place with metaphysical significance and modern exploration of human nature in all her beauty and contradictions. Though not without his critics, millions of readers the world over have found comfort and profound meaning in his poetry and he has influenced numerous other authors, poets, musicians, and playwrights into the 21st Century. Robert Lee Frost (named after Southern General Robert E. Lee) was born on 26 March 1874 in San Francisco, California to Isabelle Moodie (1844-1900) teacher, and William Prescott Frost Jr. (1850-1885), teacher and journalist. San Francisco was a lively city full of citizens of Pioneering spirit, including Will who had ventured there from New Hampshire to seek his fortune as a journalist. He also started gambling and drinking, habits which left his family in dire financial straits when he died in 1885 after contracting tuberculosis. Honouring his last wishes to be buried in Lawrence, Massachusetts where he was born, Isabelle, Robert and his sister Jeanie Florence (1876-1929) made the long train journey across the country to the New England town. Isabelle took up teaching again to support her children. With both parents as teachers, young Robert was early on exposed to the world of books and reading, studying such works as those by William Shakespeare and poetsRobert Burns and William Wordsworth. He also formed a life-long love of nature, the great outdoors and rural countryside. After enrolling in Lawrence High School he was soon writing his own poems including ―La Noche Triste‖ (1890) which was published in the school‘s paper. He excelled in many subjects including history, botany, Latin and Greek, and played football, graduating at the head of his class. In 1892 he entered Dartmouth, the Ivy League College in Hanover, New Hampshire, but soon became disenchanted with the atmosphere of campus life. He then took on a series of jobs including teaching and working in a mill, all the while continuing to write poetry. Frost got his first break as a poet in 1894 when the New York magazineIndependent published ―My Butterfly: An Elegy‖ for a stipend of $15. A year later a wish he had had for some time came true; on 19 December 1895 he married Elinor Miriam White (1872-1938), his co-
  • 4. valedictorian and sweetheart from school. They had gone separate ways upon graduation to attend college, and while Frost had left early, Elinor wanted to wait until she was finished before getting married. They would have six children together; sons Elliott (b.1896-1900) and Carol (1902-1940) and daughters Lesley (b.1899), Irma (b.1903), Marjorie (b.1905-1934), and Elinor Bettina (1907-1907). The newlyweds continued to teach, which Frost always enjoyed, but the demanding schedule interfered with his writing. In 1897 he entered Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, though illness caused him to leave in 1899 before finishing his degree. Despite that, it was one of many institutions that would award him an honorary degree later on. The next ten years, the ‗Derry years‘, were trying times for Frost with a growing family to support. In 1900 they moved to a farm bought by his paternal grandfather in Derry, New Hampshire to try poultry farming. The same year his son Elliot died of cholera. Frost suffered greatly from grief and guilt, and compounding this was the loss of his mother to cancer the same year. In 1907 Elinor Bettina died just one day after birth. But the farm was a peaceful and secluded setting and Frost enjoyed farming, tending to his orchard trees, chickens and various other chores. This period inspired such poems as ―The Mending Wall‖ (written in England in 1913) and ―Hyla Brook‖ (1906). The house built in the typical New England clapboard style is now a restored State Historical Landmark. But it was soon time for a change. In 1911 he sold the farm and the Frosts set sail for England. Elinor was enthusiastic about traveling, even with four children, and they moved into a cottage in Beaconsfield, just outside of London. Then finally it happened; after writing poetry and trying to get noticed by publishers for over twenty years, Frost‘s first collection of poetry A Boy’s Will was published in England in 1913 by a small London printer, David Nutt. American publisher Henry Holt printed it in 1915. Frost‘s work was well-received and fellow poets Edward Thomas and Ezra Pound became friends, supporters, and helped promote his work. North of Boston (1914) followed. When World War I started the Frosts were back in New Hampshire, settling at their newly bought farm in Franconia in 1915. A year later Robert began teaching English at Amherst College. Mountain Interval was published in 1916 which contained many poems written at Franconia. He was also starting lecture tours for his ever-growing audience of avid readers. In 1920, Frost bought ‗Stone House‘ (now a museum) in South Shaftsbury, Vermont. There he wrote many of the poems contained in his fourth collection of poetry New Hampshire (1923) which won him the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923. It includes ―Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening‖; The woods are But I have And miles to And miles to go before I sleep. lovely, go dark promises before and to I deep. keep, sleep, While he also farmed on the idyllic property with its breathtaking views of mountains and valleys, another project Frost undertook was the founding of the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont. After his son Carol married Lillian LaBatt (1905-1995)
  • 5. and his grandson Prescott arrived, he gave them Stone House to live in where Carol planted his thousand apple trees. Frost bought a second farm in Shaftsbury, ―The Gulley‖. At the height of his career, his next collection of poems West-running Brook (1928) was published just one year before another great loss of a loved one hit him; his sister Jeanie died. By now Frost was a popular speaker and had a demanding schedule of which Elinor, acting as his secretary, organised for him, so he spent a fair bit of time traveling, though still maintaining an impressive output of poetry. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry a second time in 1931 for his Collected Poems (1930), and also in 1937 for A Further Range (1936), and yet again in 1943 for his collection A Witness Tree(1942). All his children were married and he spent much time with them and his grandchildren, though it was not long before the heavy blows of loss struck again; his beloved daughter Marjorie died in 1934 after the birth of her first child, and in 1938 Elinor died of a heart attack. In 1940 Carol committed suicide. Leaving the Stone House and The Gulley behind, in 1939 Frost bought the HomerNoble Farm in Ripton, Vermont for his summer residence, located near the Bread Loaf School. He occupied the cabin on the property ‘Than smoke and mist who better could appraise, The kindred spirit of an inner haze?’ (―A Cabin in the Clearing‖) while his friends and colleagues the Morrisons stayed in the main house. Collected Poems(1939) was followed by A Masque of Reason (play, 1945), Steeple Bush (1947), A Masque of Mercy (play, 1947), Complete Poems (1949), and In the Clearing (1962). At the Inauguration of American President John F. Kennedy on 20 January 1961, Frost recited his poem ―The Gift Outright‖ (1942). Robert Frost died on the 29th of January 1963 in Boston, Massachusetts. ‘Safe!, Now let the night be dark for all of me. Let the night be too dark for me to see, Into the future. Let what will be, be.’ (―Acceptance‖) He lies buried in the family plot in the Old Bennington Cemetery behind the Old First Congregational Church near Shaftsbury, Vermont. His gravestone reads ‗I Had A Lover‘s Quarrel With The World‘. Just nine months after Frost‘s death, Kennedy gave a speech at Amherst College, singing Frosts‘ praises and speaking on the importance of the Arts in America. Later he said; ―The death of Robert Frost leaves a vacancy in the American spirit....His death impoverishes us all; but he has bequeathed his Nation a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding.‖ Biography written by C.D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc 2006. All Rights Reserved. The above biography is copyrighted. Do not republish it without permission. Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech.[1] His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early
  • 6. twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. Early years Robert Frost, circa 1910 Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California, to journalist William Prescott Frost, Jr., and Isabelle Moodie.[1] His mother was of Scottishdescent, and his father descended from Nicholas Frost of Tiverton, Devon,England, who had sailed to New Hampshire in 1634 on theWolfrana.[citation needed] Frost's father was a teacher and later an editor of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin (which later merged with the San Francisco Examiner), and an unsuccessful candidate for city tax collector. After his death on May 5, 1885, the family moved across the country to Lawrence, Massachusetts, under the patronage of (Robert's grandfather) William Frost, Sr., who was an overseer at a New England mill. Frost graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892. [2] Frost's mother joined the Swedenborgian church and had him baptized in it, but he left it as an adult. Although known for his later association with rural life, Frost grew up in the city, and published his first poem in his high school's magazine. He attended Dartmouth College for two months, long enough to be accepted into the Theta Delta Chifraternity. Frost returned home to teach and to work at various jobs – including helping his mother teach her class of unruly boys, delivering newspapers, and working in a factory as a lightbulb filament changer. He did not enjoy these jobs, feeling his true calling was poetry. Adult years
  • 7. "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life — It goes on" -- Robert Frost This is a stone wall at Frost's farm inDerry, New Hampshire, however, Frost was inspired to write "Mending Wall" by various walls he saw in Fife, Scotland. In 1894 he sold his first poem, "My Butterfly: An Elegy" (published in the November 8, 1894, edition of the New York Independent) for $15. Proud of his accomplishment, he proposed marriage to Elinor Miriam White, but she demurred, wanting to finish college (at St. Lawrence University) before they married. Frost then went on an excursion to the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia, and asked Elinor again upon his return. Having graduated, she agreed, and they were married at Lawrence, Massachusetts on 19 December 1895.(Thompson and Meyers) Frost attended Harvard University from 1897-1899, but left voluntarily due to illness.[3][4][5] Shortly before dying, Robert's grandfather purchased a farm for Robert and Elinor in Derry, New Hampshire; and Robert worked the farm for nine years, while writing early in the mornings and producing many of the poems that would later become famous. Ultimately his farming proved unsuccessful and he returned to the field of education as an English teacher at New Hampshire'sPinkerton Academy from 1906 to 1911, then at the New Hampshire Normal School (now Plymouth State University) in Plymouth, New Hampshire. In 1912 Frost sailed with his family to Great Britain, settling first in Beaconsfield, a small town outside London. His first book of poetry, A Boy's Will, was published the next year. In England
  • 8. he made some important acquaintances, including Edward Thomas (a member of the group known as the Dymock Poets),T.E. Hulme, and Ezra Pound. Although Pound would become the first American to write a (favorable) review of Frost's work, Frost later resented Pound's attempts to manipulate his American prosody. Frost met or befriended many contemporary poets in England, especially after his first two poetry volumes were published in London in 1913 (A Boy's Will) and 1914 (North of Boston). The Robert Frost Farm in Derry, New Hampshire, where he wrote many of his poems, including "Tree at My Window" and "Mending Wall." As World War I began, Frost returned to America in 1915 and bought a farm in Franconia, New Hampshire, where he launched a career of writing, teaching, and lecturing. This family homestead served as the Frosts' summer home until 1938, and is maintained today as The Frost Place, a museum and poetry conference site. During the years 1916–20, 1923–24, and 1927– 1938, Frost taught English at Amherst College, in Massachusetts, notably encouraging his students to account for the sounds of the human voice in their writing. For forty-two years – from 1921 to 1963 - Frost spent almost every summer and fall teaching at the Bread Loaf School of English of Middlebury College, at its mountain campus at Ripton, Vermont. He is credited as a major influence upon the development of the school and its writing programs; the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference gained renown during Frost's time there.[citation needed] The college now owns and maintains his former Ripton farmstead as a national historic site near the Bread Loaf campus. In 1921 Frost accepted a fellowship teaching post at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he resided until 1927; while there he was awarded a lifetime appointment at the University as a Fellow in Letters.[6] The Robert Frost Ann Arbor home is now situated at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Frost returned to Amherst in 1927. In 1940 he bought a 5-acre (2.0 ha) plot in South Miami, Florida, naming it Pencil Pines; he spent his winters there for the rest of his life.[7] Harvard's 1965 alumni directory indicates Frost received an honorary degree there. Although he never graduated from college, Frost received over 40 honorary degrees, including ones from Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge universities; and was the only person to receive two honorary degrees from Dartmouth College. During his lifetime, the Robert Frost Middle School in Fairfax, Virginia, the Robert L. Frost School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and the main library of Amherst College were named after him.
  • 9. The Frost family grave in Bennington Old Cemetery Frost was 86 when he spoke and performed a reading of his poetry at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy on January 20, 1961. He died in Boston two years later, on January 29, 1963, of complications from prostate surgery. He was buried at the Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont. His epitaph quotes a line from one of his poems: "I had a lover's quarrel with the world." Frost's poems are critiqued in the Anthology of Modern American Poetry (Oxford University Press) where it is mentioned that behind a sometimes charmingly familiar and rural façade, Frost's poetry frequently presents pessimistic and menacing undertones which often are either unrecognized or unanalyzed.[8] One of the original collections of Frost materials, to which he himself contributed, is found in the Special Collections department of the Jones Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. The collection consists of approximately twelve thousand items, including original manuscript poems and letters, correspondence, and photographs, as well as audio and visual recordings.[9] The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College also holds a collection of his papers. Personal life Robert Frost's personal life was plagued with grief and loss. In 1885 when Frost was 11, his father died of tuberculosis, leaving the family with just eight dollars. Frost's mother died of cancer in 1900. In 1920, Frost had to commit his younger sister Jeanie to a mental hospital, where she died nine years later. Mental illness apparently ran in Frost's family, as both he and his mother suffered from depression, and his daughter Irma was committed to a mental hospital in 1947. Frost's wife, Elinor, also experienced bouts of depression.[6] Elinor and Robert Frost had six children: son Elliot (1896–1904, died of cholera); daughter Lesley Frost Ballantine (1899–1983); son Carol (1902–1940, committed suicide); daughter Irma (1903–1967); daughter Marjorie (1905–1934, died as a result of puerperal fever after childbirth); and daughter Elinor Bettina (died just three days after her birth in 1907). Only Lesley and Irma outlived their father. Frost's wife, who had heart problems throughout her life, developed breast cancer in 1937, and died of heart failure in 1938.[6]
  • 10. Robert Frost (1874-1963), four-time Pulitzer Prize winning American poet, teacher and lecturer wrote many popular and oft-quoted poems including ―After Apple-Picking‖, ―The Road Not Taken”, “Home Burial” and “Mending Wall”; Father: William Mother: Isabelle Sister: Jeanie Prescott Wife: Elinor Miriam Son: Elliott Daughter: Lesley Frost Son: Carol Daughter: Irma Daughter:Marjorie Daughter: Elinor Bettina Frost (1907) Frost, Moodie Frost Jr. White Frost Ballantine Frost Frost Frost (1850-1885) (1844-1900) (1876-1929) (1873-1938) (1896-1900) (1899-1983) (1902-1940) (1903-1967) (1905-1934) Robert Frost What Robert Frost did... and why you should care "Three years ago, a young New Hampshire schoolmaster went over to England, lived in retirement for a while, and published a volume of poems which won him many friends in a quiet way," wrote the Boston Herald in 1915. "Some time ago, another volume of verse went to the same publisher and one morning Robert Frost found himself famous."1 This is the simplified version of how a New Hampshire farmer became America's poet—the one whose clear, elegant verse spoke of things as powerful and inscrutable as nature itself. Robert Frost, who was born in 1874 and died 88 years later as one of the most famous men in America, doesn't fit neatly into any single chapter of a poetry anthology. His poetry captures the best of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It struck out on a bold, fresh course, while never veering from the confines of verse and meter. His poems are about a specific place—America's New England—but they speak for everyone, everywhere. Like his placid images that hinted at darker truths beneath, Robert Frost's personal life belied the beauty of his poetry. Frost struggled with depression, and saw many of the people he loved destroyed by mental illness. He lost four of his six children. In the poem "Home Burial," the father of the dead child speaks words that could have been Frost's: "I shall laugh the worst laugh I ever laughed. / I'm cursed. God, if I don't believe I'm cursed."2 You have probably been forced to read and parse the meaning of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" in English class. You may have seen lines from "A Road Not Taken" emblazoned on coffee mugs and journals. That's kid stuff. Now get ready to learn the real Robert Frost.
  • 11. Mar 26, 1874 Robert Frost Born Robert Lee Frost is born in San Francisco to William Prescott Frost, Jr., and Isabelle Moodie. May 5, 1885 Father Dies Frost's father, journalist William Prescott Frost, Jr., dies of tuberculosis. With no money to support themselves, Frost, his mother, and his younger sister Jeanie move across the country to Massachusetts, to be cared for by his paternal grandparents. 1892 High School Graduation Frost graduates as co-valedictorian of Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He enrolls at Dartmouth College, but returns home after only a semester, to teach and work at various jobs. Nov 8, 1894 First Published Poem Frost's first published poem, "My Butterfly: An Elegy," appears in the New York Independent. He receives fifteen dollars for his work. Dec 19, 1895 Marries Elinor Miriam White Frost marries his Elinor Miriam White, his classmate and co-valedictorian at Lawrence High School. Sep 25, 1896
  • 12. Elliott Frost Born Robert and Elinor Frost's first child, a son named Elliott, is born. Aug 1897 Enters Harvard Robert Frost enrolls at Harvard College, where he studies liberal arts. 1899 Leaves Harvard Frost drops out of Harvard before he can get a degree, and moves back to Lawrence in order to support his growing family. Apr 28, 1899 Lesley Frost Born The couple's second child, and first daughter, Lesley is born. Lesley is later one of only two Frost children to outlive their father. Jul 8, 1900 Elliott Frost Dies Robert Frost's son Elliott dies of cholera, just two months shy of his fourth birthday. Sep 1900 Frost Takes Up Farming The Frost family moves to a poultry farm in Derry, New Hampshire, purchased for Robert by his paternal grandfather. A month later, Frost's mother Isabelle dies of cancer. May 27, 1902 Carol Frost Born The Frosts family's third child, son Carol, is born. Jun 27, 1903
  • 13. Irma Frost Born Daughter Irma, Frost's fourth child, is born. Mar 29, 1905 Marjorie Frost Born Daughter Marjorie is born. She is the Frost family's fifth child. 1906 Starts Teaching Frost becomes an English teacher at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, a job he holds for the next five years. Jun 18, 1907 Elinor Bettina Frost Born Elinor gives birth to daughter Elinor Bettina, who sadly dies just days later. She is their sixth and final child. 1911 Frost Gives Up Farming Robert Frost calls it quits and sells the poultry farm. He takes a job teaching English at New Hampshire Normal School in Plymouth, New Hampshire. 1912 Frosts Move to England The Frost family moves to the United Kingdom in September. They live first in Scotland and then outside London. Frost befriends several literary notables, including Edward Thomas andEzra Pound. 1913 First Book Published A Boy's Will, Frost's first book of poetry, is published in England. (The American edition appears two years later.)
  • 14. May 15, 1914 Second Book Published Frost's second book of poetry, North of Boston, is published. 1915 Return to America The Frosts move back to the United States as World War I begins. They settle on another farm, this time in Franconia, New Hampshire. 1917 Amherst College Frost begins the first of three teaching stints at Amherst College, which take place 1917-1920, 1923-1925, and 1926-1938. Sep 1920 Moves to Vermont The Frosts move to a home named Stone House in Shaftsbury, Vermont. They keep the Franconia farm as a summer home. 1921 Bread Loaf School Frost spends the first of 42 summers lecturing at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, at the mountain campus in Ripton, Vermont. 1923 First Pulitzer Robert Frost wins his first Pulitzer Prize for the poetry collection New Hampshire. It includes his famous poem "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening." Sep 7, 1929 Sister Dies
  • 15. Frost's sister Jeanie dies in a mental hospital at the age of 52. 1931 Wins Pulitzer Frost wins his second Pulitzer Prize for his book Collected Poems. May 2, 1934 Marjorie Frost Dies Frost's daughter Marjorie dies of puerperal fever after childbirth, at the age of 29. 1937 Wins Another Pulitzer Frost wins his third Pulitzer Prize for the poetry collection A Further Range. Mar 20, 1938 Elinor Frost Dies Elinor Miriam White Frost, the poet's wife of 42 years, dies at the age of 65 from a heart attack. 1939 Wins Poetry Awards The Ralph Waldo Emerson Fellow in Poetry at Harvard and teaches there until 1943. Oct 9, 1940 Carol Frost Dies Frost's 38-year-old son Carol commits suicide. 1941 Cambridge Frost buys a house and moves to Cambridge, Massachusetts—his home for the rest of his life. 1943
  • 16. Wins Last Pulitzer Frost wins his fourth and final Pulitzer Prize for the poetry collection A Witness Tree. In September, he begins a six-year appointment as the George Ticknor Fellow in the Humanities at Dartmouth College. Jan 20, 1961 Frost Reads at Inauguration At the age of 86, Robert Frost reads at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. Blinded by the harsh sunlight, he is unable to read "Dedication," the poem he prepared for the event. Instead, he recites his poem "The Gift Outright" from memory. Sep 7, 1962 Frost Meets Khrushchev At President Kennedy's urging, Frost accepts an invitation to meet Nikita Khrushchev, the head of the Soviet Union. The two discuss U.S.-Russia relations at Frost's bedside, since he fell ill on the trip. Jan 29, 1963 Robert Frost Dies Robert Frost dies in Boston at the age of 88 following complications from prostate surgery. He is buried at the Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont. America has a national bird (the bald eagle), a national flower (the rose), and a national anthem (come on, you know this one). If the United States ever adopted a national poet, chances are it would be Robert Frost. By the time Frost died in 1963 at the age of 88, an admiring public had all but carved his face on Mount Rushmore. His poetry was beloved. Frost earned the Pulitzer Prize a record four times. Though he never graduated from college, more than forty universities and colleges have awarded him honorary degrees. Not only was Frost tapped to speak at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, but the handsome young President-elect was
  • 17. actually worried that the crowd would be more interested in the august poet than in him. Frost stood right at the crossroads of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He does not fit neatly into any one era. He was one of the first poets to advocate for individualism in language, before the idea was fashionable—in 1920, just as Frost was becoming famous, his British contemporary T.S. Eliotpublished an essay called "Tradition and the Individual Talent" that decried individualism in poetry. While experimentalist twentieth century poets were falling over themselves to find new modes of expression, Frost reawakened readers to the power of the pastoral, the classic symbols of nature and countryside. He insisted that his poems be written in meter and verse ("I would as soon play tennis without a net,"3 he once said of free verse) but allowed the particular meter to be determined by that poem's individual needs. "You know, we don't need to be original or inventive," he once explained to one of his many creative writing classes. "You don't need to find new things. Just take the old things you find about you, the things people have known all their lives, and say them with your style."4 Frost's style was a distinctly New England one, a voice informed by the years he spent as a farmer before his poetry career took off. By combining the best of the old and new, Frost achieved tremendous respect and popularity. Though Frost's poetry often focuses on beautiful images—snow falling on quiet woods, gently swaying birch trees—close readers of his poetry have often noted that his verse seems to hint at something darker. The critic and writer Lionel Trilling once called Frost's poetry "terrifying."5 Poetry also illuminated the darkness in Frost's own soul. The same guy who wrote "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" could be depressed, jealous, vengeful, and unstable. His life was rocked by tragedies and the mental illness and depression that ran through his family, afflicting his parents, his sister, his wife, and two of his six children. Four of Frost's children died before he did. All of these are things to keep in mind when you read Robert Frost. His poems are about nature and the American Northeast, yes. But they are also about darkness, about the thin line that separates humans from the wild, our personalities from the darkness of the subconscious. His
  • 18. poems hint at something so intuitive, so primal, that it can hardly be put into words. That was Frost's goal. "If poetry isn't understanding all, the whole world," Frost once, "then it isn't worth anything. ← Video Reportage from the Wall Street Occupation SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: JOHNATHON WILLIAMS → SATURDAY POETRY SERIES PRESENTS: ROBERT FROST Posted on October 1, 2011 by Sivan Butler-Rotholz THE ROAD NOT TAKEN by Robert Frost Two roads And sorry And be And looked diverged in I could one down To where it bent in the undergrowth; a not traveler, one yellow as travel long far wood, both I as stood I could
  • 19. Then took And the having Because as perhaps it Though other, was as just the grassy for as better fair, claim, and wear; the that wanted passing there equally lay trodden black. Had worn them really about the same, And both In leaves Oh, I Yet that no knowing kept morning step the how had first way for another day! on to way, with a sigh leads I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall Somewhere Two I be telling this ages roads took diverged the and in one ages a wood, less hence: and travelled I— by, And that has made all the difference. (This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.) Robert Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. A popular and often-quoted poet, Frost was honored frequently during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. (Annotated biography of Robert Frost courtesy of Wikipedia.) Editor’s Note: Every once in a while it‘s good to look back to the traditions and literary greats that are the roots of modern American poetry. Today is one of those days. A class I TA for recently did a close reading of today‘s poem. It was one of the best close reading experiences I‘ve engaged in to date, and it inspired today‘s post.
  • 20. We began with the reading the poem appears to offer on its face, the idea that choosing the road less traveled in life is the better choice. On a second reading, and after hearing the poem read aloud by Frost, students offered that the poem has a tone of regret. Finally, after much debate, the class reached a consensus that the speaker in the poem is looking toward an unknown future, knowing only that one day he‘ll see the choice he made in taking one path over the other as the choice that made all the difference in his life. I see genius in the very fact that a reader might garner one meaning on a cursory reading, that the poem might then inspire debate among readers, and that, in the end, the group might conclude that the poem was always meant to be open to multiple interpretations. After all, when we look into our own future and contemplate what we‘ll one day say when recalling our past, what do we really know at all? letters to pal Robert Frost CONCORD, New Hampshire (AP) — Writing from England as World War I got under way, Robert Frost was more worried about his personal finances than the threat of war.
  • 21. "This row was exciting at first. But it has lost some of its interest for us," the poet wrote to his friend Ernest Silver in August 1914, just weeks after Great Britain declared war on Germany. "Not that I think the Germans will come. I bet one of my little amateur bets that other day that not one of them would set foot in England." The letter is one of six recently donated to Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, where Frost taught for a year before moving to England in 1912. His reputation as a poet grew after the publication of his first book a year later, but Frost still worried about how he would provide for his family upon returning to the United States. "I wonder if I can count on your friendship to help me to some place where I can recoup. You know the kind of thing I should like — something in the English department, if possible, where I should have some energy to spare for my poetry," he wrote. "I can probably hang on another year if I have to, but there will be the more need in the end of my finding work because by that time I shall be in debt." In another letter dated Feb. 2, 1915, Frost said he was considering moving to Vermont or Maine to be near friends. "But money is really going to be short and we must go where we can go with a reasonable chance of making ends meet," he wrote. Frost, the celebrated New England poet known for such verse as "The Road Not Taken" and "The Gift Outright," met Silver at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, where Silver was the high school principal and Frost taught English. When Silver became the president of what was then known as Plymouth Normal School, he invited Frost to come teach education and psychology. But after a decade of teaching combined with unsuccessful farming, Frost's move to England marked his shift toward poetry as a vocation, said Alice Staples, librarian for the archives and special collections at Plymouth State. The letters come from a time in which Frost faced a choice not unlike the dilemma posed in 1916's "The Road Not Taken," she said. In England, Frost befriended other literary greats, including William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound. In a May 7, 1913, letter, he described Yeats' manner as being "like that of a man in some dream he can't shake off," and called Pound "the dazzling youth who translates poetry from six languages." "Someone says he looks altogether too much like a poet to be a poet," Frost wrote of Pound. "He lives in Bohemia from hand to mouth but he goes simply everywhere in great society." Frost also described reading Yeats to students in Plymouth before meeting the poet overseas, a detail Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen found particularly striking. "To think that he was bringing such a contemporary writer to the students and working with them, and then to think how exciting that must've been for him, to be in a position where he could meet and talk with the man he had just been teaching," Steen said.
  • 22. The letters, which have not been published before, were donated privately to the university, Steen said. To mark the 100th anniversary of Frost's time on campus, the school has set up a display including audio of Frost reading his poetry along with photos and other memorabilia. "There could hardly be anything more perfect in the centennial year of Robert Frost and Ernest Silver coming to Plymouth than to have the letters that were part of that correspondence come to us," Steen said. Frost returned to the U.S. in 1915. In addition to his connection to Plymouth, the letters also show how Frost's time in England solidified his identity as a New Englander, Staples said. (Frost was born in California but moved to New England as a child.) Though accustomed to New Hampshire's harsh winters, Frost complained that he'd rather be stuck in snow than the mud that surrounded him that spring in England. "My original theory was that mud here took the place of snow at home. It is worse than that. Mud here takes the place of everything at home. ... We had three hours sunshine last week a thing so remarkable that it set the ladies cooing over their tea, 'Don't you think the English is a much maligned climate?'" "I suppose the amount of it is that I am home-sick, and so not disposed to like anything foreign," he concluded. "Twenty-five years in New England have made very much of a damned Yankee of me." Frost, who won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry, died in 1963. ____
  • 23. © g. Paul Bishop 1958 ROBERT FROST Robert (Lee) Frost Poet 1874 - 1963
  • 24. ----- Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco. His father, William Prescott Frost, Jr., had been born in New Hampshire, the state to which Robert Frost made his devious way back. As a boy he tried to enlist in the Confederate army, a passionate displaced regionalism which his son (appropriately named Robert Lee after the general) emulated, though he found it necessary to change the region. William Frost determined to go west, but to earn money for a year first as headmaster at a small private school in Pennsylvania. The school had only on other teacher, Isabelle Moodie, a woman six years older than himself, whom he courted and married. In may 1885 he died of tuberculosis; his instructions were that he be buried in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and his widow discharged this wish and then remained in the East. Her son attended high school there from 1888 to 1892. He was an excellent student of classics, and he also began to be known as a poet. In the school another student of equal excellence was Elinor White. Frost resolved to marry her, and it was characteristic of his tenacity that he succeeded in doing so in spite of her delays and doubts. He won a scholarship to Dartmouth, and she went to St. Lawrence College. Before a semester was over, Frost had dropped out. He had hoped to persuade Elinor White to marry him at once, but she insisted upon waiting until she had finished college. The ceremony did not occur until 1895. In 1897 Frost decided he must have his Harvard education after all, and persuaded the authorities to admit him as a special student (rather than a degree candidate). He was to say in later life that this was a turning-point for him. At Harvard he could try himself against the cultural powers of his time, and he could listen to philosophers like Santayana and James. But again, in March 1899, he withdrew of his own accord. On medical advice he thought he would live in the country, and his grandfather bought him a farm in Derry, New Hampshire. These years, when money was short and family life was especially difficult --- the Frosts had five children by 1905 -- were gloomy ones for Frost. He more than once meditated suicide. A lift came when in 1906 he took a teaching job at Pinkerton Academy. During the next five years he reformed its English syllabus, directed plays, and wrote most of the poems later included in his first book. In 1911 he sold his farm, and in October he took ship with his family to Glasgow and then went on to London. There was little reason to hope that publication of his verse would be any easier in England than in the United States, but a month after his arrival he submitted his poems to an English publisher and had them accepted. A Boy's Will was published in 1913 and a second book, North of Boston, in 1914. In England Frost came to know the poets of the time. Ezra Pound introduced him to Yeats, whom he had long admired, and Frost also met imagists like F. S. Flint and Amy Lowell and became friendly with the Georgian poets. Among these last his closest friend was Edward Thomas, in whom he recognized something like an alter ego. This pleasant idyll in England was broken into by the war, which forced him to return in 1915 to the United States. There his luck held: the publisher Henry Holt was easily persuaded to publish both his earlier books as well as subsequent ones. Although Frost could not live on his poems, his poetry made him much sought after by colleges and universities. In 1917 he began to teach at Amherst, and he kept up for many
  • 25. years a loose association with this college, intermixed with periods as professor or poet-inresidence elsewhere. He was a frequent lecturer around the country and eventually became a goodwill emissary to South America and then, at his friend President John F. Kennedy's request, to the Soviet Union. Frost's personal life was never easy. He demanded great loyalty and was quick to suspect friends of treachery. In 1938 his wife died, and in 1940 a son committed suicide. Nonetheless he was showered with honors. Perhaps the most conspicuous was, at John F. Kennedy's invitation, to read a poem at the presidential inauguration ceremony in 1961. He had become by far the most recognized poet in America by the time of his death, at the age of eighty-eight, on January 29, 1963. Robert Frost, and the Road Less Traveled American Minute with Bill Federer ―I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference‖ wrote Robert Frost in ―The Road Not Taken.‖ He first published poems in his high school bulletin and graduated co-valedictorian with the woman he was to marry. Farming in New Hampshire, Frost wrote poetry and taught at several schools. After a brief time in England, he taught at Amherst College, the University of Michigan and Harvard. Robert Frost won four Pulitzer prizes, the U.S. Senate honored him with a resolution, Eisenhower invited him to the White House and he read a poem at Kennedy‘s inauguration. Frost was a consultant to the Library of Congress and received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960. In ―Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,‖ Frost wrote: The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. Acquainted with the Night I have been one acquainted with I have walked out in rain—and back I have outwalked the furthest city light. the in night. rain.
  • 26. I have looked down I have passed by the And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. I have stood still and When far away Came over houses from another street, But not to call And further still One luminary clock against the sky me at Proclaimed the time was I have been one acquainted with the night. the saddest watchman on stopped an back an neither the city his sound interrupted or say unearthly wrong of lane. beat feet cry good-by; height nor right. After Apple Picking My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree Toward heaven still. And there's a barrel that I didn't fill Beside it, and there may be two or three Apples I didn't pick upon some bough. But I am done with apple-picking now. Essence of winter sleep is on the night, The scent of apples; I am drowsing off. I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight I got from looking through a pane of glass I skimmed this morning from the water-trough, And held against the world of hoary grass. It melted, and I let it fall and break. But I was well Upon my way to sleep before it fell, And I could tell What form my dreaming was about to take. Magnified apples appear and reappear, Stem end and blossom end, And every fleck of russet showing clear. My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
  • 27. It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round. And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin That rumbling sound Of load on load of apples coming in. For I have had too much Of apple-picking; I am overtired Of the great harvest I myself desired. There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch, Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall, For all That struck the earth, No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble, Went surely to the cider-apple heap As of no worth. One can see what will trouble This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is. Were he not gone, The woodchuck could say whether it's like his Long sleep, as I describe its coming on, Or just some human sleep. Birches When I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy‘s been swinging them. But swinging doesn‘t bend them down to stay. Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. Soon the sun‘s warmth makes them shed crystal shells Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crustSuch heaps of broken glass to sweep away You‘d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woods Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. But I was going to say when Truth broke in
  • 28. With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm (Now am I free to be poetical?) I should prefer to have some boy bend them As he went out and in to fetch the cowsSome boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father‘s trees By riding them down over and over again Until he took the stiffness out of them, And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. He learned all there was To learn about not launching out too soon And so not carrying the tree away Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise To the top branches, climbing carefully With the same pains you use to fill a cup Up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, Kicking his way down through the air to the ground. So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be. It‘s when I‘m weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig‘s having lashed across it open. I‘d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate willfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth‘s the right place for love: I don‘t know where it‘s likely to go better. I‘d like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. Come In As I came to the edge of the woods,
  • 29. Thrush music — hark! Now if it was dusk outside, Inside it was dark. To dark in the woods for a bird By sleight of wing To better its perch for the night, Though it still could sing. The last of the light of the sun That had died in the west Still lived for one song more In a thrush's breast. Far in the pillared dark Thrush music went — Almost like a call to come in To the dark and lament. But no, I was out for stars; I would not come in. I meant not even if asked; And I hadn't been. Desert Places Snow falling and night falling fast, oh, fast In a field I looked into going past, And the ground almost covered smooth in snow, But a few weeds and stubble showing last. The woods around it have it—it is theirs. All animals are smothered in their lairs. I am too absent-spirited to count; The loneliness includes me unawares. And lonely as it is that loneliness
  • 30. Will be more lonely ere it be less— A blanker whiteness of benighted snow With no expression, nothing to express. They cannot scare me with their empty spaces Between stars—on stars where no human race is. I have it in me so much nearer home To scare myself with my own desert places. Design I found a dimpled spider, fat and white, On a white heal-all, holding up a moth Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth— Assorted characters of death and blight Mixed ready to begin the morning right, Like the ingredients of a witches' broth— A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth, And dead wings carried like a paper kite. What had that flower to do with being white, The wayside blue and innocent heal-all? What brought the kindred spider to that height, Then steered the white moth thither in the night? What but design of darkness to appall?— If design govern in a thing so small. Dust of Snow The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued.
  • 31. To Earthward Love at the lips was touch As sweet as I could bear; And once that seemed too much; I lived on air That crossed me from sweet things, The flow of - was it musk From hidden grapevine springs Down hill at dusk? I had the swirl and ache From sprays of honeysuckle That when they're gathered shake Dew on the knuckle. I craved strong sweets, but those Seemed strong when I was young; The petal of the rose It was that stung. Now no joy but lacks salt That is not dashed with pain And weariness and fault; I crave the stain Of tears, the aftermark Of almost too much love, The sweet of bitter bark And burning clove. When stiff and sore and scarred I take away my hand From leaning on it hard In grass and sand, The hurt is not enough: I long for weight and strength To feel the earth as rough To all my length. Fire and Ice Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To know that for destruction ice
  • 32. Is also great And would suffice. Mending Wall Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it, And spills the upper boulders in the sun, And makes gaps even two can pass abreast. The work of hunters is another thing: I have come after them and made repair Where they have left not one stone on a stone, But they would have the rabbit out of hiding, To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean, No one has seen them made or heard them made, But at spring mending-time we find them there. I let my neighbort know beyond the hill; And on a day we meet to walk the line And set the wall between us once again. We keep the wall between us as we go. To each the boulders that have fallen to each. And some are loaves and some so nearly balls We have to use a spell to make them balance: 'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!' We wear our fingers rough with handling them. Oh, just another kind of out-door game, One on a side. It comes to little more: There where it is we do not need the wall: He is all pine and I am apple orchard. My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. He only says, 'Good fences make good neighhours'. Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder If I could put a notion in his head: 'Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it Where there are cows? But here there are no cows. Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out, And to whom I was like to give offence.
  • 33. Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down.' I could say '.Elves' to him, But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather He said it for himself. I see him there Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. He moves in darkness as it seems to me — Not of woods only and the shade of trees. He will not go behind his father's saying, And he likes having thought of it so well He says again, Good fences make good neighbours. Mowing There was never a sound beside the wood but one, And that was my long scythe whispering to the ground. What was it it whispered? I knew not well myself; Perhaps it was something about the heat of the sun, Something, perhaps, about the lack of sound— And that was why it whispered and did not speak. It was no dream of the gift of idle hours, Or easy gold at the hand of fay or elf: Anything more than the truth would have seemed too weak To the earnest love that laid the swale in rows, Not without feeble-pointed spikes of flowers (Pale orchises), and scared a bright green snake. The fact is the sweetest dream that labor knows. My long scythe whispered and left the hay to make. The Need of Being Versed in Country Things The house had gone to bring again To the midnight sky a sunset glow. Now the chimney was all of the house that stood, Like a pistil after the petals go. The barn opposed across the way, That would have joined the house in flame Had it been the will of the wind, was left To bear forsaken the place's name. No more it opened with all one end For teams that came by the stony road To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs
  • 34. And brush the mow with the summer load. The birds that came to it through the air At broken windows flew out and in, Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh From too much dwelling on what has been. Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf, And the aged elm, though touched with fire; And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm; And the fence post carried a strand of wire. For them there was really nothing sad. But though they rejoiced in the nest they kept, One had to be versed in country things Not to believe the phoebes wept. . Not to Keep They sent him back to her. The letter came Saying . . . and she could have him. And before She could be sure there was no hidden ill Under the formal writing, he was in her sight — Living. — They gave him back to her alive — How else? They are not known to send the dead — And not disfigured visibly. His face? — His hands? She had to look — to ask, "What was it, dear?" And she had given all And still she had all — they had — they the lucky! Wasn't she glad now? Everything seemed won, And all the rest for them permissable ease. She had to ask, "What was it, dear?" "Enough, Yet not enough. A bullet through and through, High in the breast. Nothing but what good care And medicine and rest — and you a week, Can cure me of to go again." The same Grim giving to do over for them both. She dared no more than ask him with her eyes How was it with him for a second trial. And with his eyes he asked her not to ask. They had given him back to her, but not to keep.
  • 35. Nothing Gold can Stay Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. An Old Man's Winter Night All out of doors looked darkly in at him Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars, That gathers on the pane in empty rooms. What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand. What kept him from remembering what it was That brought him to that creaking room was age. He stood with barrels round him - at a loss. And having scared the cellar under him In clomping there, he scared it once again In clomping off; - and scared the outer night, Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar Of trees and crack of branches, common things, But nothing so like beating on a box. A light he was to no one but himself Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what, A quiet light, and then not even that. He consigned to the moon, such as she was, So late-arising, to the broken moon As better than the sun in any case For such a charge, his snow upon the roof, His icicles along the wall to keep; And slept. The log that shifted with a jolt Once in the stove, disturbed him and he shifted, And eased his heavy breathing, but still slept. One aged man - one man - can't keep a house, A farm, a countryside, or if he can, It's thus he does it of a winter night.
  • 36. On Looking Up by Chance at the Constellations You'll wait a long, long time for anything much To happen in heaven beyond the floats of cloud And the Northern Lights that run like tingling nerves. The sun and moon get crossed, but they never touch, Nor strike out fire from each other nor crash out loud. The planets seem to interfere in their curves — But nothing ever happens, no harm is done. We may as well go patiently on with our life, And look elsewhere than to stars and moon and sun For the shocks and changes we need to keep us sane. It is true the longest drout will end in rain, The longest peace in China will end in strife. Still it wouldn't reward the watcher to stay awake In hopes of seeing the calm of heaven break On his particular time and personal sight. That calm seems certainly safe to last to-night. Once by the Pacific The shattered water made a misty din. Great waves looked over others coming in, And thought of doing something to the shore That water never did to land before. The clouds were low and hairy in the skies, Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes. You could not tell, and yet it looked as if The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff, The cliff in being backed by continent; It looked as if a night of dark intent Was coming, and not only a night, an age. Someone had better be prepared for rage. There would be more than ocean-water broken Before God's last Put out the Light was spoken.
  • 37. "Out, Out—" The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood, Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it. And from there those that lifted eyes could count Five mountain ranges one behind the other Under the sunset far into Vermont. And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled, As it ran light, or had to bear a load. And nothing happened: day was all but done. Call it a day, I wish they might have said To please the boy by giving him the half hour That a boy counts so much when saved from work. His sister stood beside them in her apron To tell them 'Supper'. At the word, the saw, As if to prove saws knew what supper meant, Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap— He must have given the hand. However it was, Neither refused the meeting. But the hand! The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh. As he swung toward them holding up the hand Half in appeal, but half as if to keep The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all— Since he was old enough to know, big boy Doing a man's work, though a child at heart— He saw all spoiled. 'Don't let him cut my hand off The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!' So. But the hand was gone already. The doctor put him in the dark of ether. He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath. And then — the watcher at his pulse took fright. No one believed. They listened at his heart. Little — less — nothing! — and that ended it. No more to build on there. And they, since they Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs. The Oven Bird There is a singer everyone has heard, Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird, Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again. He says that leaves are old and that for flowers Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
  • 38. He says the early petal-fall is past When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers On sunny days a moment overcast; And comes that other fall we name the fall. He says the highway dust is over all. The bird would cease and be as other birds But that he knows in singing not to sing. The question that he frames in all but words Is what to make of a diminished thing. Reluctance Out through the fields and the woods And over the walls I have wended; I have climbed the hills of view And looked at the world, and descended; I have come by the highway home, And lo, it is ended. The leaves are all dead on the ground, Save those that the oak is keeping To ravel them one by one And let them go scraping and creeping Out over the crusted snow, When others are sleeping. And the dead leaves lie huddled and still, No longer blown hither and thither; The last lone aster is gone; The flowers of the witch-hazel wither; The heart is still aching to seek, But the feet question 'Whither?' Ah, when to the heart of man Was it ever less than a treason To go with the drift of things, To yield with a grace to reason, And bow and accept the end Of a love or a season? The Road not Taken Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both
  • 39. And be one traveller, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. The Soldier He is that fallen lance that lies as hurled, That lies unlifted now, come dew, come rust, But still lies pointed as it ploughed the dust. If we who sight along it round the world, See nothing worthy to have been its mark, It is because like men we look too near, Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere, Our missiles always make too short an arc. They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect The curve of earth, and striking, break their own; They make us cringe for metal-point on stone. But this we know, the obstacle that checked And tripped the body, shot the spirit on Further than target ever showed or shone.
  • 40. The Sound of the Trees I WONDER about the trees. Why do we wish to bear Forever the noise of these More than another noise So close to our dwelling place? We suffer them by the day Till we lose all measure of pace, And fixity in our joys, And acquire a listening air. They are that that talks of going But never gets away; And that talks no less for knowing, As it grows wiser and older, That now it means to stay. My feet tug at the floor And my head sways to my shoulder Sometimes when I watch trees sway, From the window or the door. I shall set forth for somewhere, I shall make the reckless choice Some day when they are in voice And tossing so as to scare The white clouds over them on. I shall have less to say, But I shall be gone. Spring Pools These pools that, though in forests, still reflect The total sky almost without defect, And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver, Will like the flowers beside them, soon be gone, And yet not out by any brook or river, But up by roots to bring dark foliage on. The trees that have it in their pent-up buds To darken nature and be summer woods— Let them think twice before they use their powers To blot out and drink up and sweep away These flowery waters and these watery flowers From snow that melted only yesterday.
  • 41. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening Whose woods these are I think I know His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake. The only other sound's the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep. A Time To Talk When a friend calls to me from the road And slows his horse to a meaning walk, I don't stand still and look around On all the hills I haven't hoed, And shout from where I am, What is it? No, not as there is a time to talk. I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground, Blade-end up and five feet tall, And plod: I go up to the stone wall For a friendly visit. [Compare with Incident]
  • 42. The Tuft of Flowers I went to turn the grass once after one Who mowed it in the dew before the sun. The dew was gone that made his blade so keen Before I came to view the leveled scene. I looked for him behind an isle of trees; I listened for his whetstone on the breeze. But he had gone his way, the grass all mown, And I must be, as he had been,—alone, 'As all must be,' I said within my heart, 'Whether they work together or apart.' But as I said it, swift there passed me by On noiseless wing a 'wildered butterfly, Seeking with memories grown dim o'er night Some resting flower of yesterday's delight. And once I marked his flight go round and round, As where some flower lay withering on the ground. And then he flew as far as eye could see, And then on tremulous wing came back to me. I thought of questions that have no reply, And would have turned to toss the grass to dry; But he turned first, and led my eye to look At a tall tuft of flowers beside a brook, A leaping tongue of bloom the scythe had spared Beside a reedy brook the scythe had bared. I left my place to know them by their name, Finding them butterfly weed when I came. The mower in the dew had loved them thus, By leaving them to flourish, not for us, Nor yet to draw one thought of ours to him. But from sheer morning gladness at the brim. The butterfly and I had lit upon, Nevertheless, a message from the dawn, That made me hear the wakening birds around, And hear his long scythe whispering to the ground, And feel a spirit kindred to my own; So that henceforth I worked no more alone; But glad with him, I worked as with his aid, And weary, sought at noon with him the shade; And dreaming, as it were, held brotherly speech With one whose thought I had not hoped to reach. 'Men work together,' I told him from the heart, 'Whether they work together or apart.' And would suffice.
  • 43. Wild Grapes What tree may not the fig be gathered from? The grape may not be gathered from the birch? It's all you know the grape, or know the birch. As a girl gathered from the birch myself Equally with my weight in grapes, one autumn, I ought to know what tree the grape is fruit of. I was born, I suppose, like anyone, And grew to be a little boyish girl My brother could not always leave at home. But that beginning was wiped out in fear The day I swung suspended with the grapes, And was come after like Eurydice And brought down safely from the upper regions; And the life I live now's an extra life I can waste as I please on whom I please. So if you see me celebrate two birthdays, And give myself out of two different ages, One of them five years younger than I look— One day my brother led me to a glade Where a white birch he knew of stood alone, Wearing a thin head-dress of pointed leaves, And heavy on her heavy hair behind, Against her neck, an ornament of grapes. Grapes, I knew grapes from having seen them last year. One bunch of them, and there began to be Bunches all round me growing in white birches, The way they grew round Leif the Lucky's German; Mostly as much beyond my lifted hands, though, As the moon used to seem when I was younger, And only freely to be had for climbing. My brother did the climbing; and at first Threw me down grapes to miss and scatter And have to hunt for in sweet fern and hardhack; Which gave him some time to himself to eat, But not so much, perhaps, as a boy needed. So then, to make me wholly self-supporting, He climbed still higher and bent the tree to earth And put it in my hands to pick my own grapes. "Here, take a tree-top, I'll get down another. Hold on with all your might when I let go." I said I had the tree. It wasn't true. The opposite was true. The tree had me.
  • 44. The minute it was left with me alone It caught me up as if I were the fish And it the fishpole. So I was translated To loud cries from my brother of "Let go! Don't you know anything, you girl? Let go!" But I, with something of the baby grip Acquired ancestrally in just such trees When wilder mothers than our wildest now Hung babies out on branches by the hands To dry or wash or tan, I don't know which, (You'll have to ask an evolutionist)— I held on uncomplainingly for life. My brother tried to make me laugh to help me. "What are you doing up there in those grapes? Don't be afraid. A few of them won't hurt you. I mean, they won't pick you if you don't them." Much danger of my picking anything! By that time I was pretty well reduced To a philosophy of hang-and-let-hang. "Now you know how it feels," my brother said, "To be a bunch of fox-grapes, as they call them, That when it thinks it has escaped the fox By growing where it shouldn't—on a birch, Where a fox wouldn't think to look for it— And if he looked and found it, couldn't reach it— Just then come you and I to gather it. Only you have the advantage of the grapes In one way: you have one more stem to cling by, And promise more resistance to the picker." One by one I lost off my hat and shoes, And still I clung. I let my head fall back, And shut my eyes against the sun, my ears Against my brother's nonsense; "Drop," he said, "I'll catch you in my arms. It isn't far." (Stated in lengths of him it might not be.) "Drop or I'll shake the tree and shake you down." Grim silence on my part as I sank lower, My small wrists stretching till they showed the banjo strings. "Why, if she isn't serious about it! Hold tight awhile till I think what to do. I'll bend the tree down and let you down by it." I don't know much about the letting down; But once I felt ground with my stocking feet And the world came revolving back to me, I know I looked long at my curled-up fingers, Before I straightened them and brushed the bark off.
  • 45. My brother said: "Don't you weigh anything? Try to weigh something next time, so you won't Be run off with by birch trees into space." It wasn't my not weighing anything So much as my not knowing anything— My brother had been nearer right before. I had not taken the first step in knowledge; I had not learned to let go with the hands, As still I have not learned to with the heart, And have no wish to with the heart—nor need, That I can see. The mind—is not the heart. I may yet live, as I know others live, To wish in vain to let go with the mind— Of cares, at night, to sleep; but nothing tells me That I need learn to let go with the heart. The Wood-Pile Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day I paused and said, 'I will turn back from here. No, I will go on farther - and we shall see'. The hard snow held me, save where now and then One foot went through. The view was all in lines Straight up and down of tall slim trees Too much alike to mark or name a place by So as to say for certain I was here Or somewhere else: I was just far from home. A small bird flew before me. He was careful To put a tree between us when he lighted, And say no word to tell me who he was Who was so foolish as to think what he thought. He thought that I was after him for a feather— The white one in his tail; like one who takes Everything said as personal to himself. One flight out sideways would have undeceived him. And then there was a pile of wood for which I forgot him and let his little fear Carry him off the way I might have gone, Without so much as wishing him good-night. He went behind it to make his last stand. It was a cord of maple, cut and split And piled and measured, four by four by eight. And not another like it could I see.
  • 46. No runner tracks in this year's snow looped near it. And it was older sure than this year's cutting, Or even last year's or the year's before. The wood was gray and the bark warping off it And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle. What held it though on one side was a tree Still growing, and on one a stake and prop, These latter about to fall. I thought that only Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks Could so forget his handiwork on which He spent himself the labour of his axe, And leave it there far from a useful fireplace To warm the frozen swamp as best it could With the slow smokeless burning of decay. Robert Frost (1874 - 1963) Robert Frost Overview Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California. His readers though, will always see him as a New Englander where he has lived since age 10. Robert Frost was first introduced to words no doubt by his father, a newspaper man. Mr. Frost never truly acclimated himself to college life, leaving both Dartmouth and Harvard. He spent his time as a shoemaker, farmer, and a mill hand. Finally, he began a teaching profession around age 37. It is from this point on that Robert Frost began to write. He had earned himself a new title, author.[1] Critical Issue TIME Magazine has described Frost‘s work, ―His prosiest lines are often lifted into verse by some piece of sly wit or canny wisdom, and at its best his poetry is as strong and simple as his Vermont landscape.‖ Robert Frost was at his best embodying the character of Americans. He came up with catch phrases and rules of thumb that are preached in every American home such as ―good fences make good neighbors‖. His poetry had a hint of drama, an element he was praised for. Poems like Robert Frost Stopping by the Woods and Birches create the home town mentality. Students around the United States recite his poetry daily. Despite being
  • 47. known for his big head and belly, his works out weighed his attitude. He had no fancy technique or process; rather, he watched the world and wrote. Conclusion/Historical Significance Robert Frost was quoted saying, ―I like to entertain ideas. I like that word entertain.‖ That is exactly what Mr. Frost was able to do so well, entertain. Robert Frost has obtained the Pulitzer Prize several times, a cherished honor among authors, as well as numerous other achievements. Frost also entertained the idea of how to keep his literacy alive saying, ―Who knows what will survive? The limit of my ambition is to lodge a few pebbles where they will be hard to get rid of.‖ Because of his attentiveness toward each poem little survived his own note pad. Once they had an audience though, his poetry had no worries of diminishing. Robert Frost captivated generations with his literacy genius Meeting Robert Frost Robert Frost, 1959 - Photo by Gordon Parks, LIFE In 1960, when I was in my second year at the University of Virginia, poet Robert Frost came to the Grounds for the dedication of the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature that had assembled the most complete collection of Frost‘s works ever brought together. There was an elegant dinner at Carr‘s Hill, the U.Va. president‘s mansion, followed by what was expected to be a brief appearance by Frost at Cabell Hall auditorium. I must have had some ushering responsibilities that night, because I arrived early and secured prime seats for myself and my roommate Ted Wolfe, who carried a volume of Frost‘s collected
  • 48. works that he desperately wanted autographed. The auditorium filled to capacity, and then the student overflow was allowed to occupy the wings of the stage where, grateful for their surprise positions, they sat shoulder to shoulder on the hardwood floor. My duties done, I took my seat next to Ted and waited for America‘s most awarded poet to arrive. In 1960, Robert Frost was 86 years old and considered infirm. A few months following his appearance at U.Va., in January 1961, Frost would recite his poem ―The Gift Outright‖ at the John Kennedy presidential inauguration. He would be the first poet so honored, but his appearance almost turned into a disaster. Supported to the podium, Frost attempted to read the poem from a folded sheet of paper that he took from his inside coat pocket, but the cold winter wind and the glare of the sun made the reading impossible. Frost struggled as a nation watched in sympathetic horror. Then he put away the paper and recited the entire poem from memory. The image of Frost‘s recovery and triumph is iconic in inauguration history and, for me, more memorable than Kennedy‘s most quoted end note of that speech: ―Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.‖ The reason I so warmly embrace Frost‘s inauguration triumph over physical vulnerability and potential humiliation is because I had witnessed his amazing strength that night in Cabell Hall. I forget who introduced Frost. In memory, I see him enter the stage from the wings on the arm of a black man dressed in what appeared to be a chauffeur‘s uniform. The students seated on the floor slid on their behinds to make way. At the podium, Frost had three worn books of his collected poetry. I had been told by one of the stage managers that Frost would speak for no more than fifteen minutes. And how could he be expected to do more after such a long ceremonial day? Looking at the old white-haired man bent with age, I guess most of us in the audience expected the reading of a few poems and nothing more. Certainly there would be no question and answer period that we had come to expect from our on-Grounds writer-inresidenceWilliam Faulkner. Frost removed a folded sheet of paper from his inside suit coat pocket, considered its content, and then returned it to the pocket. He had not said a word, and the audience paused in suspended animation for what he might do next. Then in a very gentle, conversational voice, Frost recounted how he had leaned back during the limousine ride to the auditorium, and through the curved rear window, observed the evening star. He said that seeing it reminded him of how important the evening star had been in his poetry, so he decided to put away his prepared remarks and read a few of the poems inspired by that star. He then began to search through the three books for the poems that came to mind, and a remarkable transformation began to occur. As he read, his posture became more erect, his voice
  • 49. stronger. And although he began reading a poem from an open book, by the second or third line, his eyes came up, and he was reciting from memory. Oh, my God, the poetry came alive in an experience of profound revelation. The familiar ones like ―Mending Wall,‖ ―The Road Not Taken,‖ and ―Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening‖ were never so wonderfully satisfying, and all the others so attuned to our youthful souls. Frost astounded us with his strength as a lifetime of creative energy welled up in him. And then, with the last poem recited and more than an hour passed, his gigantic aura receded, and his body slumped back into its previous form of old age. In awe, even as we stood and applauded, we saw him helped across the stage as one might support an invalid. Ted grabbed my arm and begged me to take him backstage where Frost might autograph the book he had brought. When we got near to Frost, he was still being supported by the same man in the uniform as they made their way toward the exit. Considering his vulnerability, I was very reluctant to bother Frost for an autograph, but Ted insisted. Imagine my audacity as I introduced Ted to Frost and asked him to sign Ted‘s book. Frost only mumbled, and with a trembling hand and stub-nosed pencil, he scrawled something almost illegible onto the title page of the book. Seeing Frost backstage, it was impossible to believe that this was the same man who had held an audience spellbound for over an hour. We could only rationalize that what we had witnessed was a divine expression of the creative life force. Then, later at Kennedy‘s inauguration, we saw the power again, and perhaps we wept at the natural wonder of a creative man like Robert Frost. Robert Frost is my favourite poet (that might be because he's the only one I've actually read) but I often get the feeling that I'm missing the whole point, or the picture... Either way, I was wondering if you could tell me what you think Forst meant with a the following lines in Not Quite Social (A Further Range): To punish me overcruelly wouldn't be right For merely giving you once more gently proof That the city's hold on a man is no more tight Than when its walls rose higher than any roof I don't know. I think poetry is difficult. I never know whether there's an actual meaning behind (a part of) it or whether the poet simply chose a word that rhymes or words that "feel right." It makes it dificult to enjoy. Anyway, thanks. Two Look at two hi, i have a project do on this poem i did a lot of research but was unable to find some certain things i need. what is the tone/mood/structure of the poem? the theme? ( i have the general idea) thesis statement? and also the speaker voice? thanks in advane Posted By nick1407 at Tue 4 May 2010, 12:20 PM in Frost, Robert || 0 Replies Interesting True Story about "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"
  • 50. What follows is an interesting true story about Robert Frost and the correct interpretation of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." One of my best friends took a poetry class in highschool (probably his freshman year). The class studied the aforementioned poem and the teacher encouraged each student to try to interpret it. After the students had each come to a conclusion as to what the poem signified, the the class discussed it. During the discussion the teacher insisted that the poem was about contemplating committing suicide by running off into the freezing woods. My friend was skeptical. He argued that perhaps Frost meant precisely what he said: he was simply stopping by woods on a snowy evening and contemplating them. But the teacher, standing on all her awesome authority as teacher, informed him in no uncertain terms that he was in error. Time passed. One day this same teacher found herself at an English teachers conference of some sort. During this time a her supervisor took her and several other fellow teachers aside. He told them that there was someone very special there that he wanted them to meet; they could ask questions, but they were to be very polite and not irritate this person. He led them into a room, and there he was: Robert Frost in the flesh. They had a Q & A session, discussing Frost's poetry. At that point the teacher asked Frost, What did he mean when he wrote "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"? Was the speaker contemplating suicide? "No," was Frost's answer: he meant exactly what he said--he was simply riding along on his horse one day and stopped by woods... on a snowy evening. And that was all there was to it. Posted By Il Dante at Fri 2 Apr 2010, 8:14 PM in Frost, Robert || 2 Replies The Silken Tent I found it really difficult to move from the physical to the psychological in Frost's poetry ; yet it is interesting and with time I tend to like it especially for this very thing. At first I didn't like the comparaison between a woman and a tent ! Not so romantic and a little humuliating after being the man's temple , his star and so on ......I won't feel happy if a man called me " my tent ":p But I think this is the point of view of the modern man .This is how he sees her now . He's more like a vagabond . Therefore the tent is an excellent choice . From this perspective I really appreciate how he gives great dimensions to the trivial and the common ; to let us appreciate what we didn't appreciate before now .This new consciousness of things and details is really awesome. What I still wondering about is his notion of the modern woman .By the end we noticed that this woman is not free as we thought or as she thought herself to be. Is he saying the woman cannot be free ??? She is as in a field a silken tent At midday when a sunny summer breeze Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent, So that in guys it gently sways at ease, And its supporting central cedar pole, That is its pinnacle to heavenward And signifies the sureness of the soul, Seems to owe naught to any single cord, But strictly held by none, is loosely bound By countless silken ties of love and thought To everything on earth the compass round, And only by one's going slightly taut In the capriciousness of summer air Is of the slightest bondage made aware. Robert Frost 1874–1963
  • 51. Robert Frost holds a unique and almost isolated position in American letters. "Though his career fully spans the modern period and though it is impossible to speak of him as anything other than a modern poet," writes James M. Cox, "it is difficult to place him in the main tradition of modern poetry." In a sense, Frost stands at the crossroads of nineteenth-century American poetry and modernism, for in his verse may be found the culmination of many nineteenth-century tendencies and traditions as well as parallels to the works of his twentieth-century contemporaries. Taking his symbols from the public domain, Frost developed, as many critics note, an original, modern idiom and a sense of directness and economy that reflect the imagism of Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell. On the other hand, as Leonard Unger and William Van O'Connor point out inPoems for Study, "Frost's poetry, unlike that of such contemporaries as Eliot, Stevens, and the later Yeats, shows no marked departure from the poetic practices of the nineteenth century." Although he avoids traditional verse forms and only uses rhyme erratically, Frost is not an innovator and his technique is never experimental. Frost's theory of poetic composition ties him to both centuries. Like the nineteenth-century Romantics, he maintained that a poem is "never a put-up job.... It begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a loneliness. It is never a thought to begin with. It is at its best when it is a tantalizing vagueness." Yet, "working out his own version of the 'impersonal' view of art," as Hyatt H. Waggoner observed, Frost also upheld T. S. Eliot's idea that the man who suffers and the artist who creates are totally separate. In a 1932 letter to Sydney Cox, Frost explained his conception of poetry: "The objective idea is all I ever cared about. Most of my
  • 52. ideas occur in verse.... To be too subjective with what an artist has managed to make objective is to come on him presumptuously and render ungraceful what he in pain of his life had faith he had made graceful." To accomplish such objectivity and grace, Frost took up nineteenth-century tools and made them new. Lawrence Thompson has explained that, according to Frost, "the self-imposed restrictions of meter in form and of coherence in content" work to a poet's advantage; they liberate him from the experimentalist's burden—the perpetual search for new forms and alternative structures. Thus Frost, as he himself put it in "The Constant Symbol," wrote his verse regular; he never completely abandoned conventional metrical forms for free verse, as so many of his contemporaries were doing. At the same time, his adherence to meter, line length, and rhyme scheme was not an arbitrary choice. He maintained that "the freshness of a poem belongs absolutely to its not having been thought out and then set to verse as the verse in turn might be set to music." He believed, rather, that the poem's particular mood dictated or determined the poet's "first commitment to metre and length of line." Critics frequently point out that Frost complicated his problem and enriched his style by setting traditional meters against the natural rhythms of speech. Drawing his language primarily from the vernacular, he avoided artificial poetic diction by employing the accent of a soft-spoken New Englander. In The Function of Criticism,Yvor Winters faulted Frost for his "endeavor to make his style approximate as closely as possible the style of conversation." But what Frost achieved in his poetry was much more complex than a mere imitation of the New England farmer idiom. He wanted to restore to literature the "sentence sounds that underlie the words," the "vocal gesture" that enhances meaning. That is, he felt the poet's ear must be sensitive to the voice in order to capture with the written word the significance of sound in the spoken word. "The Death of the Hired Man," for instance, consists almost entirely of dialogue between Mary and Warren, her farmer-husband, but critics have observed that in this poem Frost takes the prosaic patterns of their speech and makes them lyrical. To Ezra Pound "The Death of the Hired Man" represented Frost at his best—when he "dared to write ... in the natural speech of New England; in natural spoken speech, which is very different from the 'natural' speech of the newspapers, and of many professors." Frost's use of New England dialect is only one aspect of his often discussed regionalism. Within New England, his particular focus was on New Hampshire, which he called "one of the two best
  • 53. states in the Union," the other being Vermont. In an essay entitled "Robert Frost and New England: A Revaluation," W. G. O'Donnell noted how from the start, in A Boy's Will, "Frost had already decided to give his writing a local habitation and a New England name, to root his art in the soil that he had worked with his own hands." Reviewing North of Boston in the New Republic, Amy Lowell wrote, "Not only is his work New England in subject, it is so in technique.... Mr. Frost has reproduced both people and scenery with a vividness which is extraordinary." Many other critics have lauded Frost's ability to realistically evoke the New England landscape; they point out that one can visualize an orchard in "After Apple-Picking" or imagine spring in a farmyard in "Two Tramps in Mud Time." In this "ability to portray the local truth in nature," O'Donnell claims, Frost has no peer. The same ability prompted Pound to declare, "I know more of farm life than I did before I had read his poems. That means I know more of 'Life.'" Frost's regionalism, critics remark, is in his realism, not in politics; he creates no picture of regional unity or sense of community. In The Continuity of American Poetry, Roy Harvey Pearce describes Frost's protagonists as individuals who are constantly forced to confront their individualism as such and to reject the modern world in order to retain their identity. Frost's use of nature is not only similar but closely tied to this regionalism. He stays as clear of religion and mysticism as he does of politics. What he finds in nature is sensuous pleasure; he is also sensitive to the earth's fertility and to man's relationship to the soil. To critic M. L. Rosenthal, Frost's pastoral quality, his "lyrical and realistic repossession of the rural and 'natural,'" is the staple of his reputation. Yet, just as Frost is aware of the distances between one man and another, so he is also always aware of the distinction, the ultimate separateness, of nature and man. Marion Montgomery has explained, "His attitude toward nature is one of armed and amicable truce and mutual respect interspersed with crossings of the boundaries" between individual man and natural forces. Below the surface of Frost's poems are dreadful implications, what Rosenthal calls his "shocked sense of the helpless cruelty of things." This natural cruelty is at work in "Design" and in "Once by the Pacific." The ominous tone of these two poems prompted Rosenthal's further comment: "At his most powerful Frost is as staggered by 'the horror' as Eliot and approaches the hysterical edge of sensibility in a comparable way.... His is still the modern mind in search of its own meaning." The austere and tragic view of life that emerges in so many of Frost's poems is modulated by his
  • 54. metaphysical use of detail. As Frost portrays him, man might be alone in an ultimately indifferent universe, but he may nevertheless look to the natural world for metaphors of his own condition. Thus, in his search for meaning in the modern world, Frost focuses on those moments when the seen and the unseen, the tangible and the spiritual intersect. John T. Napier calls this Frost's ability "to find the ordinary a matrix for the extraordinary." In this respect, he is often compared withEmily Dickinson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, in whose poetry, too, a simple fact, object, person, or event will be transfigured and take on greater mystery or significance. The poem "Birches" is an example: it contains the image of slender trees bent to the groundtemporarily by a boy's swinging on them or permanently by an ice-storm. But as the poem unfolds, it becomes clear that the speaker is concerned not only with child's play and natural phenomena, but also with the point at which physical and spiritual reality merge. Such symbolic import of mundane facts informs many of Frost's poems, and in "Education by Poetry" he explained: "Poetry begins in trivial metaphors, pretty metaphors, 'grace' metaphors, and goes on to the profoundest thinking that we have. Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another.... Unless you are at home in the metaphor, unless you have had your proper poetical education in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere." Frost's own poetical education began in San Francisco where he was born in 1874, but he found his place of safety in New England when his family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1884 following his father's death. The move was actually a return, for Frost's ancestors were originally New Englanders. The region must have been particularly conducive to the writing of poetry because within the next five years Frost had made up his mind to be a poet. In fact, he graduated from Lawrence High School, in 1892, as class poet (he also shared the honor of co-valedictorian with his wife-to-be Elinor White); and two years later, the New York Independent accepted his poem entitled "My Butterfly," launching his status as a professional poet with a check for $15.00. To celebrate his first publication, Frost had a book of six poems privately printed; two copies of Twilight were made—one for himself and one for his fiancee. Over the next eight years, however, he succeeded in having only thirteen more poems published. During this time, Frost sporadically attended Dartmouth and Harvard and earned a living teaching school and, later, working a farm in Derry, New Hampshire. But in 1912, discouraged by American magazines' constant rejection of his work, he took his family to England, where he could "write and be poor
  • 55. without further scandal in the family." In England, Frost found the professional esteem denied him in his native country. Continuing to write about New England, he had two books published, A Boy's Will andNorth of Boston, which established his reputation so that his return to the United States in 1915 was as a celebrated literary figure. Holt put out an American edition ofNorth of Boston, and periodicals that had once scorned his work now sought it. Since 1915 Frost's position in American letters has been firmly rooted; in the years before his death he came to be considered the unofficial poet laureate of the United States. On his seventyfifth birthday, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in his honor which said, "His poems have helped to guide American thought and humor and wisdom, setting forth to our minds a reliable representation of ourselves and of all men." In 1955, the State of Vermont named a mountain after him in Ripton, the town of his legal residence; and at the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961, Frost was given the unprecedented honor of being asked to read a poem. Frost wrote a poem called "Dedication" for the occasion, but could not read it given the day's harsh sunlight. He instead recited "The Gift Outright," which Kennedy had originally asked him to read, with a revised, more forward-looking, last line. Though Frost allied himself with no literary school or movement, the imagists helped at the start to promote his American reputation. Poetry: A Magazine of Versepublished his work before others began to clamor for it. It also published a review by Ezra Pound of the British edition of A Boy's Will, which Pound said "has the tang of the New Hampshire woods, and it has just this utter sincerity. It is not post-Miltonic or post-Swinburnian or post Kiplonian. This man has the good sense to speak naturally and to paint the thing, the thing as he sees it." Amy Lowell reviewed North of Bostonin the New Republic, and she, too, sang Frost's praises: "He writes in classic metres in a way to set the teeth of all the poets of the older schools on edge; and he writes in classic metres, and uses inversions and cliches whenever he pleases, those devices so abhorred by the newest generation. He goes his own way, regardless of anyone else's rules, and the result is a book of unusual power and sincerity." In these first two volumes, Frost introduced not only his affection for New England themes and his unique blend of traditional meters and colloquialism, but also his use of dramatic monologues and dialogues. "Mending Wall," the leading poem in North of Boston,describes the friendly argument between the speaker and his neighbor as they walk along their common wall replacing fallen stones; their differing attitudes toward "boundaries" offer symbolic significance typical of the poems in these early collections.
  • 56. Mountain Interval marked Frost's turn to another kind of poem, a brief meditation sparked by an object, person or event. Like the monologues and dialogues, these short pieces have a dramatic quality. "Birches," discussed above, is an example, as is "The Road Not Taken," in which a fork in a woodland path transcends the specific. The distinction of this volume, the Boston Transcript said, "is that Mr. Frost takes the lyricism of A Boy's Will and plays a deeper music and gives Several new a qualities more emerged intricate in Frost's variety work of with the experience." appearance of New Hampshire, particularly a new self-consciousness and willingness to speak of himself and his art. The volume, for which Frost won his first Pulitzer Prize, "pretends to be nothing but a long poem with notes and grace notes," as Louis Untermeyer described it. The title poem, approximately fourteen pages long, is a "rambling tribute" to Frost's favorite state and "is starred and dotted with scientific numerals in the manner of the most profound treatise." Thus, a footnote at the end of a line of poetry will refer the reader to another poem seemingly inserted to merely reinforce the text of "New Hampshire." Some of these poems are in the form of epigrams, which appear for the first time in Frost's work. "Fire and Ice," for example, one of the better known epigrams, speculates on the means by which the world will end. Frost's most famous and, according to J. McBride Dabbs, most perfect lyric, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," is also included in this collection; conveying "the insistent whisper of death at the heart of life," the poem portrays a speaker who stops his sleigh in the midst of a snowy woods only to be called from the inviting gloom by the recollection of practical duties. Frost himself said of this poem that it is the kind he'd like to print on one page followed with "forty pages of footnotes." West-Running Brook, Frost's fifth book of poems, is divided into six sections, one of which is taken up entirely by the title poem. This poem refers to a brook which perversely flows west instead of east to the Atlantic like all other brooks. A comparison is set up between the brook and the poem's speaker who trusts himself to go by "contraries"; further rebellious elements exemplified by the brook give expression to an eccentric individualism, Frost's stoic theme of resistance and self-realization. Reviewing the collection in the New York Herald Tribune, Babette Deutsch wrote: "The courage that is bred by a dark sense of Fate, the tenderness that broods over mankind in all its blindness and absurdity, the vision that comes to rest as fully on kitchen smoke and lapsing snow as on mountains and stars—these are his, and in his seemingly casual poetry, he quietly makes them ours."
  • 57. A Further Range, which earned Frost another Pulitzer Prize and was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection, contains two groups of poems subtitled "Taken Doubly" and "Taken Singly." In the first, and more interesting, of these groups, the poems are somewhat didactic, though there are humorous and satiric pieces as well. Included here is "Two Tramps in Mud Time," which opens with the story of two itinerant lumbermen who offer to cut the speaker's wood for pay; the poem then develops into a sermon on the relationship between work and play, vocation and avocation, preaching the necessity to unite them. Of the entire volume, William Rose Benet wrote, "It is better worth reading than nine-tenths of the books that will come your way this year. In a time when all kinds of insanity are assailing the nations it is good to listen to this quiet humor, even about a hen, a hornet, or Square Matthew.... And if anybody should ask me why I still believe in my land, I have only to put this book in his hand and answer, 'Well-here is a man of my country.'" Most critics acknowledge that Frost's poetry in the forties and fifties grew more and more abstract, cryptic, and even sententious, so it is generally on the basis of his earlier work that he is judged. His political conservatism and religious faith, hitherto informed by skepticism and local color, became more and more the guiding principles of his work. He had been, as Randall Jarrell points out, "a very odd and very radical radical when young" yet became "sometimes callously and unimaginatively conservative" in his old age. He had become a public figure, and in the years before his death, much of his poetry was written from this stance. Reviewing A Witness Tree in Books, Wilbert Snow noted a few poems "which have a right to stand with the best things he has written": "Come In," "The Silken Tent," and "Carpe Diem" especially. Yet Snow went on: "Some of the poems here are little more than rhymed fancies; others lack the bullet-like unity of structure to be found in North of Boston." On the other hand, Stephen Vincent Benet felt that Frost had "never written any better poems than some of those in this book." Similarly, critics were let down by In the Clearing. One wrote, "Although this reviewer considers Robert Frost to be the foremost contemporary U.S. poet, he regretfully must state that most of the poems in this new volume are disappointing.... [They] often are closer to jingles than to the memorable poetry we associate with his name." Another maintained that "the bulk of the book consists of poems of 'philosophic talk.' Whether you like them or not depends mostly on whether you share the 'philosophy.'" Indeed, many readers do share Frost's philosophy, and still others who do not nevertheless
  • 58. continue to find delight and significance in his large body of poetry. In October, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at the dedication of the Robert Frost Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. "In honoring Robert Frost," the President said, "we therefore can pay honor to the deepest source of our national strength. That strength takes many forms and the most obvious forms are not always the most significant.... Our national strength matters; but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much. This was the special significance of Robert Frost." The poet would probably have been pleased by such recognition, for he had said once, in an interview with Harvey Breit: "One thing I care about, and wish young people could care about, is taking poetry as the first form of understanding. If poetry isn't understanding all, the whole world, then it isn't worth anything." Frost's poetry is revered to this day. When a previously unknown poem by Frost titled "War Thoughts at Home," was discovered and dated to 1918, it was subsequently published in the fall, 2006, edition of the Virginia Quartely Review. CAREER Poet. Held various jobs between college studies, including bobbin boy in a Massachusetts mill, cobbler, editor of a country newspaper, schoolteacher, and farmer. Lived in England, 1912-15. Tufts College, Medford, MA, Phi Beta Kappa poet, 1915 and 1940; Amherst College, Amherst, MA, professor of English and poet-in-residence, 1916-20, 1923-25, and 1926-28; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Phi Beta Kappa poet, 1916 and 1941; Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, co-founder of the Bread-Loaf School and Conference of English, 1920, annual lecturer, beginning 1920; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, professor and poet-in-residence, 1921-23, fellow in letters, 1925-26; Columbia University, New York City, Phi Beta Kappa poet, 1932; Yale University, New Haven, CT, associate fellow, beginning 1933; Harvard University, Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, 1936, board overseer, 1938-39, Ralph Waldo Emerson Fellow, 1939-41, honorary fellow, 1942-43; associate of Adams House; fellow in American civilization, 1941-42; Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, George Ticknor Fellow in Humanities, 1943-49, visiting lecturer. BIBLIOGRAPHY P OETR Y
  • 59. Twilight, [Lawrence, MA], 1894, reprinted, University of Virginia, 1966. A Boy's Will, D. Nutt, 1913, Holt, 1915. North of Boston, D. Nutt, 1914, Holt, 1915, reprinted, Dodd, 1977. Mountain Interval, Holt, 1916. New Hampshire, Holt, 1923, reprinted, New Dresden Press, 1955. Selected Poems, Holt, 1923. Several Short Poems, Holt, 1924. West-Running Brook, Holt, 1928. Selected Poems, Holt, 1928. The Lovely Shall Be Choosers, Random House, 1929. The Lone Striker, Knopf, 1933. Two Tramps in Mud-Time, Holt, 1934. The Gold Hesperidee, Bibliophile Press, 1935. Three Poems, Baker Library Press, 1935. A Further Range, Holt, 1936. From Snow to Snow, Holt, 1936. A Witness Tree, Holt, 1942. A Masque of Reason (verse drama), Holt, 1942. Steeple Bush, Holt, 1947. A Masque of Mercy (verse drama), Holt, 1947. Greece, Black Rose Press, 1948. Hard Not to Be King, House of Books, 1951. Aforesaid, Holt, 1954. The Gift Outright, Holt, 1961. "Dedication" and "The Gift Outright" (poems read at the presidential inaugural, 1961; published with the inaugural address of J. F. Kennedy), Spiral Press, 1961. In the Clearing, Holt, 1962.
  • 60. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Dutton, 1978. Early Poems, Crown, 1981. A Swinger of Birches: Poems of Robert Frost for Young People (with audiocassette), Stemmer House, 1982. Spring Pools, Lime Rock Press, 1983. Birches, illustrated by Ed Young, Holt, 1988. The Runaway (juvenile poetry), illustrated by Glenna Lang, Godine (Boston, MA), 1996. Also author of And All We Call P OEM S IS S UED AS C HR IS TMAS GR EET INGS Christmas Trees, Spiral Press, 1929. Neither Out Far Nor In Deep, Holt, 1935. Everybody's Sanity, [Los Angeles], 1936. To a Young Wretch, Spiral Press, 1937. Triple Plate, Spiral Press, 1939. Our Hold on the Planet, Holt, 1940. An Unstamped Letter in Our Rural Letter Box, Spiral Press, 1944. On Making Certain Anything Has Happened, Spiral Press, 1945. One Step Backward Taken, Spiral Press, 1947. Closed for Good, Spiral Press, 1948. On a Tree Fallen Across the Road to Hear Us Talk, Spiral Press, 1949. Doom to Bloom, Holt, 1950. A Cabin in the Clearing, Spiral Press, 1951. Does No One but Me at All Ever Feel This Way in the Least, Spiral Press, 1952. One More Brevity, Holt, 1953. From a Milkweed Pod, Holt, 1954. Some Science Fiction, Spiral Press, 1955. American, 1958.
  • 61. Kitty Hawk, 1894, Holt, 1956. My Objection to Being Stepped On, Holt, 1957. Away, Spiral Press, 1958. A-Wishing Well, Spiral Press, 1959. Accidentally on Purpose, Holt, 1960. The Woodpile, Spiral Press, 1961. The Prophets Really Prophesy as Mystics, the Commentators Merely by Statistics, Spiral Press, 1962. The Constant Symbol, [New York], 1962. C O LLEC T IO NS Collected Poems of Robert Frost, Holt, 1930, new edition, 1939, reprinted, Buccaneer Books, 1983. Selected Poems, Holt, 1934, reprinted, 1963. Come In, and Other Poems, edited by Louis Untermeyer, Holt, 1943, reprinted, F. Watts, 1967, enlarged edition published as The Road Not Taken: An Introduction to Robert Frost, reprinted as The Pocket Book of Robert Frost's Poems, Pocket Books, 1956. The Poems of Robert Frost, Modern Library, 1946. You Come Too: Favorite Poems for Young Readers, Holt, 1959, reprinted, 1967. A Remembrance Collection of New Poems by Robert Frost, Holt, 1959. Poems, Washington Square Press, 1961. Longer Poems: The Death of the Hired Man, Holt, 1966. Selected Prose, edited by Hyde Cox and Edward Connery Lathem, Holt, 1966, reprinted, Collier Books, 1968. Complete Poems of Robert Frost, Holt, 1968. The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Lathem, Holt, 1969. Robert Frost: Poetry and Prose, edited by Lawrence Thompson and Lathem, Holt, 1972. Selected Poems, edited by Ian Hamilton, Penguin, 1973.
  • 62. Collected Poems, Plays, and Prose, Library of America (New York, NY), 1995. Early Frost: The First Three Books, Ecco (Hopewell, NJ), 1996. Versed in Country Things, edited by Edward Connery Lathem, Little, Brown, 1996. (With Christopher Burkett) Robert Frost: Seasons, MJF (New York, NY), Books, 1996. The Robert Frost Reader: Poetry and Prose, edited by Edward Connery Lathem and Lawrance Thompson, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2002. Robert Frost, compiled by S. L. Berry, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 2003. LETTER S The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer, Holt, 1963. Selected Letters, edited by Thompson, Holt, 1964. OTHER A Way Out: A One-Act Play, Harbor Press, 1929. The Cow's in the Corn: A One-Act Irish Play in Rhyme, Slide Mountain Press, 1929. (Contributor) John Holmes, editor, Writing Poetry, Writer, Inc., 1960. (Contributor) Milton R. Konvitz and Stephen E. Whicher, editors, Emerson, Prentice-Hall, 1962. Robert Frost on "Extravagance" (the text of Frost's last college lecture, Dartmouth College, November 27, 1962), [Hanover, NH], 1963. Robert Frost: A Living Voice (contains speeches by Frost), edited by Reginald Cook, University of Massachusetts Press, 1974. (With Caroline Ford) The Less Travelled Road, Bern Porter, 1982. Stories for Lesley, edited by Roger D. Sell, University Press of Virginia, 1984. Frost's papers are collected at the libraries of the University of Virginia, Amherst College, and Dartmouth College, and the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. FURTHER READING BOOKS
  • 63. Anderson, Margaret, Robert Frost and John Bartlett: The Record of a Friendship, Holt, 1963. Barry, Elaine, compiler, Robert Frost on Writing, Rutgers University Press, 1973. Barry, Elaine, Robert Frost, Ungar, 1973. Bloom, Harold, ed., Robert Frost, Chelsea House Publishers, 1998. Breit, Harvey, The Writer Observed, World Publishing, 1956. Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography: The Twenties, 1917-1929, Gale, 1989. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale, Volume 1, 1973, Volume 3, 1975, Volume 4, 1975, Volume 9, 1978, Volume 10, 1979, Volume 13, 1980, Volume 15, 1980, Volume 26, 1983, Volume 34, 1985, Volume 44, 1987. Cook, Reginald L., The Dimensions of Robert Frost, Rinehart, 1958. Cook, Reginald L., Robert Frost: A Living Voice, University of Massachusetts Press, 1974. Cox, James M., Robert Frost: A Collection of Critical Essays, Prentice-Hall, 1962. Cox, Sidney, Swinger of Birches: A Portrait of Robert Frost, New York University Press, 1957. Cramer, Jefferey S., Robert Frost among His Poems: A Literary Companion to the Poet's Own Biographical Contexts and Associations, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 1996. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 54: American Poets, 1880-1945, Third Series, Gale, 1987. Dodd, Loring Holmes, Celebrities at Our Hearthside, Dresser, 1959. Doyle, John R., Jr., Poetry of Robert Frost: An Analysis, Hallier, 1965. Evans, William R., editor, Robert Frost and Sidney Cox: Forty Years of Friendship, University Press of New England, 1981. Faggen, Robert, Robert Frost and the Challenge of Darwin, University of Michigan Press, 1997. Fleissner, Robert F., Frost's Road Taken, Peter Lang (New York), 1996. Francis, Lesley Lee, The Frost Family's Adventure in Poetry: Sheer Morning Gladness at the Brim, University of Missouri Press (Columbia), 1994. Francis, Robert, recorder, A Time to Talk: Conversations and Indiscretions, University of Massachusetts Press, 1972.
  • 64. Frost, Lesley, New Hampshire's Child: Derry Journals of Lesley Frost, State University of New York Press, 1969. Gerber, Philip L., Robert Frost, Twayne, 1966. Gould, Jean, Robert Frost: The Aim Was Song, Dodd, 1964. Grade, Arnold, editor, Family Letters of Robert and Elinor Frost, State University of New York Press, 1972. Greiner, Donald J., Checklist of Robert Frost, Charles E. Merrill, 1969. Greiner, Donald J. and Charles Sanders, Robert Frost: The Poet and His Critics, American Library Association, 1974. Hall, Donald, Remembering Poets, Hater, 1977. Ingebretsen, Ed, Robert Frost: Star and a Stone Boat: Aspects of a Grammar of Belief, International Scholars Publications (San Francisco), 1994. Isaacs, Emily Elizabeth, Introduction to Robert Frost, A. Swallow, 1962, reprinted, Haskell House, 1972. Jarrell, Randall, Poetry and the Age, Vintage, 1955. Jennings, Elizabeth, Frost, Barnes & Noble, 1966. Kearns, Katherine, Robert Frost and a Poetics of Appetite, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1994. Kilcup, Karen L., Robert Frost and Feminine Literary Tradition, University of Michigan Press, 1998. Lathem, Edward C. and Lawrence Thompson, editors, Robert Frost: Farm Poultryman; The Story of Robert Frost's Career As a Breeder and Fancier of Hens, Dartmouth Publishers, 1963. Lathem, Edward C., editor, Interviews with Robert Frost, Rinehart, 1966. Lathem, Edward C., editor, A Concordance to the Poetry of Robert Frost, Holt Information Systems, 1971. Lentriccia, Frank, Robert Frost: Modern Poetics and the Landscapes of Self, Duke University Press, 1975. Lowell, Amy, Tendencies in Modern American Poetry, Macmillan, 1917. Maxson, H.A., On the Sonnets of Robert Frost, McFarland and Co., 1997.
  • 65. Mertins, Marshall Louis and Esther Mertins, Intervals of Robert Frost: A Critical Bibliography, University of California Press, 1947, reprinted, Russell, 1975. Mertins, Marshall Louis, Robert Frost: Life and Talks— Walking, University of Oklahoma Press, 1965. Meyers, Jeffrey, Robert Frost: A Biography, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1996. Muir, Helen, Frost in Florida: A Memoir, Valiant Press (Miami), 1995. Munson, Gorham B., Robert Frost: A Study in Sensibility and Good Sense, G. H. Doran, 1927, reprinted, Haskell House, 1969. Newdick, Robert Spangler, Newdick's Season of Frost: An Interrupted Biography of Robert Frost, edited by William A. Sutton, State University of New York Press, 1976. Orton, Vrest, Vermont Afternoons with Robert Frost, Tuttle, 1971. Pearce, Roy Harvey, The Continuity of American Poetry, Princeton, 1961. Poirier, Richard, Robert Frost, Oxford University Press, 1977. Pound, Ezra, The Literary Essays of Ezra Pound, New Directions, 1954. Pritchard, William H., Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered, Oxford University Press, 1984. Reeve, Franklin D., Robert Frost in Russia, Little, Brown, 1964. Richardson, Mark, The Ordeal of Robert Frost: The Poet and His Poetics, University of Illinois Press, 1997. Rosenthal, M. L., The Modern Poets, Oxford University Press, 1965. Shepley, Elizabeth, Robert Frost: The Trial by Existence, Holt, 1960. Sohn, David A. and Richard Tyre, Frost: The Poet and His Poetry, Holt, 1967. Spiller, Robert E. and others, Literary History of the United States, 4th revised edition, Macmillan, 1974. Squires, Radcliffe, Major Themes of Robert Frost, University of Michigan Press, 1969. Tharpe, Jac, editor, Frost: Centennial Essays II, University Press of Mississippi, 1976. Thompson, Lawrence, Fire and Ice: The Art and Thought of Robert Frost, Holt, 1942, reprinted, Russell, 1975. Thompson, Lawrence, Robert Frost, University of Minnesota Press, 1959.
  • 66. Thompson, Lawrence, editor, Selected Letters of Robert Frost, Holt, 1964. Thompson, Lawrence, Robert Frost: The Early Years, 1874-1915, Holt, 1966. Thompson, Lawrence, Robert Frost: The Years of Triumph, 1915-1938, Holt, 1970. Thompson, Lawrence and R. H. Winnick, Robert Frost: The Later Years, 1938-1963, Holt, 1976. Tutein, David W., Robert Frost's Reading: An Annotated Bibliography, Edwin Mellen, 1997. Unger, Leonard and William Van O'Connor, Poems for Study, Holt, 1953. Untermeyer, Louis, Makers of the Modern World, Simon & Schuster, 1955. Untermeyer, Louis, Lives of the Poets, Simon & Schuster, 1959. Untermeyer, Louis, Robert Frost: A Backward Look, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964. Van Egmond, Peter, The Critical Reception of Robert Frost, G. K. Hall, 1974. Waggoner, Hyatt H., American Poetry from the Puritans to the Present, Houghton, 1968. Wagner, Linda Welshimer, editor, Robert Frost: The Critical Reception, B. Franklin, 1977. West, Herbert Faulkner, Mind on the Wing, Coward, 1947. Wilcox, Earl J., His "Incalculable" Influence on Others: Essays on Robert Frost in Our Time, English Literary Studies, University of Victoria (Victoria, British Columbia), 1994. Winters, Yvor, The Function of Criticism, A. Swallow, 1957. P ER IOD IC A LS America, December 24, 1977. American Literature, January, 1948. Atlantic, February, 1964, November, 1966. Bookman, January, 1924. Books, May 10, 1942. Boston Transcript, December 2, 1916. Commonweal, May 4, 1962, April 1, 1977. New Republic, February 20, 1915.
  • 67. New York Herald Tribune, November 18, 1928. New York Times, October 19, 1986. New York Times Book Review, July 17, 1988. New York Times Magazine, June 11, 1972; August 18, 1974. Poetry, May, 1913. Saturday Review of Literature, May 30, 1936; April 25, 1942. South Atlantic Quarterly, summer, 1958. Times Literary Supplement, December 14, 1967. Virginia Quarterly Review, summer, 1957. Wisconsin Library Bulletin, July, 1962. Yale Review, spring, 1934, summer, 1948. Robert Frost Stone House Museum
  • 68. So. Shaftsbury, Vermont A literary landmark, only minutes away from Frost's gravesite in Bennington, was opened in 2002 to honor America's favorite poet. Frost lived in the Stone House in South Shaftsbury, Vermont from 1920 to 1929. Here, Frost composed many of the pieces that became part of New Hampshire, his first Pulitzer Prize winning volume that included "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Built c. 1769, the house was considered historic before the Frost period. It is a rare example of colonial architecture made of native stone and timber. It has changed little since Frost's time and remains in excellent condition. The house sits on 7 acres and features many Frostian associations including stone walls, birch trees, a timbered barn and some of Frost's original apple trees. Many poignant episodes in Frost's life happened in this house. Exhibits The exhibits are educational and literary covering Frost's life and art. They are designed to make you feel as if you met him. The current exhibit, entitled, "Robert Frost: The Poetry of Trees," explores the many uses of tree imagery that gather into a potent symbol over the course of Frost's poetry. Historic trees on the property, apple and red pine, are being prepared to make crafted items for our shop. The Robert Frost Apple Trees and the Red Pines The trees at the Frost museum have been the subject of two ongoing projects. The historic apple trees have been propagated to make specimens for a new desplay orchard, and some have been sold to the public. Frost also planted 1,000 red pine seedlings on the property in the early 1920s. Click here to read about the apples and red pines. "Frost first discovered this area of the White Mountains when he came there to seek relief
  • 69. from hay fever. He brought his family there and they fell in love with the area. The Frosts first rented rooms from the Irish farmer John Lynch in the late summer of 1907 outside of Bethlehem, N.H. Frost wrote to his friend and early editor Susan Hayes Ward, who had visited the family there, of the time spent at Bethlehem: 'How long ago and far away Bethlehem is already. Our summer was one of the pleasantest we have had for years. . . . There is a pang there that makes poetry.' Frost had returned from England and had grown romantic for New Hampshire and New England. He was searching for a farm in the Franconia area that had a view. He happened on one farm that he liked but it wasn't for sale. The owner of the farm Willis E. Herbert was outside and the two men began a conversation. Herbert happened to be looking for more land and if Frost could pay a thousand dollars for the farm then he would be willing to sell it. Frost showed the house to his family and they all agreed and he shook hands with Herbert on the price of a thousand. It wasn't until Herbert began to see Frost's picture in the papers that he decided a thousand was too fair a price for Frost to pay and he should pay one or two more hundred for the farm. Frost agreed and the family moved in June of 1915." — Francis McGovern, from Photo by Star Black, used with permission of CavanKerry Press, Ltd. So here the fermenting malice we have to against ourselves not to misread by their disguises. great be man and nearly as as stood, poems fierce he -William Matthews, former resident poet, from "On the Porch of The Frost Place, Franconia, N.H." The Frost Place is a nonprofit educational center for poetry and the arts based at Robert Frost‘s old homestead, which is owned by the town of Franconia, New Hampshire. The Frost Place was founded in 1976 when a group of neighbors led by David Schaffer and Evangeline Machlin persuaded the Franconia town meeting to approve the purchase of the farmhouse where Robert Frost and his family lived full-time from 1915 to 1920 and spent
  • 70. nineteen summers. A board of trustees was given responsibility for management of the house and its associated programs, and from 1977 through 2005 teacher and scholar Donald Sheehan served as executive director. In 2010 the trustees appointed poet Maudelle Driskell as Sheehan‘s successor. Since 1977, The Frost Place has awarded a fellowship each summer to an emerging American poet, including a cash stipend and the opportunity to live and write in the house for several months. In addition, The Frost Place has sponsored an annual Festival and Conference on Poetry for writers seeking classes and workshops with a faculty of illustrious poets, a teachers‘ conference, and an advanced seminar. The Museum The Frost Place is a ―house museum,‖ a sanctuary for lovers of poetry and books on a quiet north country lane with a spectacular view of the White Mountains. By today‘s standards Photo by Star Black, used with permission of CavanKerry Press, Ltd. especially, this is a small house, built in the 1860s and miraculously well preserved, thanks to the care of the families that lived here until the mid-1970s, and thanks as well to the foresight and concern of the citizens of Franconia, who voted at their town meeting in 1976 to purchase the former home of Robert Frost and his family in order to see to its safekeeping in perpetuity. Unlike typical modern museums, you won‘t find at The Frost Place fancy multi-media displays or cafés, but if you come seeking a glimpse and a sense of the kind of place where a young poet could concentrate, and where his four children could range through the woods and orchards and discover the world, The Frost Place can still offer such pleasures. In addition to a collection of signed first editions of Frost‘s works and other memorabilia from his stay, The Frost Place has a half-mile nature trail with plaques displaying poems written during the poet‘s Franconia years. Moreover, instead of being merely a site of retrospection and nostalgia, The Frost Place continues to host energetic and innovative gatherings for contemporary poets, including summer conferences and school programs, and each summer an emerging poet is awarded a fellowship with a cash stipend and an invitation to live and write in Frost‘s former home for the months of July and August.
  • 71. Photo by Star Black, used with permission of CavanKerry Press, Ltd. Museum Hours The Frost Place Museum is open daily from 1 -5 pm except for Tuesday.