Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
by Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken"


Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874 to William Frost, a journalist and Isabelle Moody Frost, a schoolteacher. In 1885 his father died, and his mother moved with the family to Lawrence, Mass. Frost became interested in reading and writing poetry during his high school years in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He was enrolled at Dartmouth College in 1892, and later at Harvard, but never earned a formal degree.

c. 1892
This picture courtesy:
Dartmouth College Archives.
The original photograph is held at Jones Library, Amerherst, MA
Frost drifted through a string of occupations after leaving school, including cobbler, and editor of the Lawrence Sentinel. He was a mill worker and teacher (1892-1897), and a farmer in New Hampshire (1900-1912). His first professional poem, "My Butterfly," was published on November 8, 1894, in the New York newspaper The Independent.
He was a founder of the Bread Loaf School, Middlebury, VT in 1920.

In 1895, Frost married Elinor Miriam White, who became a major inspiration in his poetry until her death in 1938. Father to Elliott, Lesley, Carol, Irma, Marjorie and Elinor Bettina. The couple moved to England and lived there from 1912 until 1915, after their New Hampshire farm failed and was sold, he gave up a teaching post at the New Hampshire State Normal School. England was where his first volume of poems, A Boy's Will, was published in 1913. It was abroad that Frost met and was influenced by such contemporary British poets as Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. While in England, Frost also established a friendship with the poet Ezra Pound, who helped to promote and publish his work. By the time Frost returned to the United States in 1915, he had published two full-length collections, A Boy's Will and North of Boston, and his reputation was established. Upon his return to New Hampshire he settled on a a farm but taught at many universities and colleges in the ensuing years. By the nineteen-twenties, he was the most celebrated poet in America.

Thereafter he continued to write poetry with increasing success, while living on farms in Vermont and New Hampshire and teaching literature at Amherst College, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and Dartmouth College. Among the volumes of poetry he produced are Mountain Interval (1916), West-Running Brook (1928), A Further Range (1936), A Masque of Reason (1945), and In the Clearing (1962).

Photo courtesy of:Wikipedia.Org

Frost’s poetry is based mainly upon the life and scenery of rural New England, and the language of his verse reflects the compact idiom of that region. Although he concentrates on ordinary subject matter, his emotional range is wide and deep, and he is capable of shifting in the same poem from a tone of humorous banter to the passionate expression of tragic experience. The underlying philosophy of Frost’s poetry is rooted in traditional New England individualism, and his work shows his strong sympathy for the values of early American society.

Frost image was also depicted on a United States postage stamp.

Often honoured for his work (awarded four Pulitzer Prizes, 1924, 1931, 1937, 1943)), in later years he cultivated the image of America's poet laureate, and this climaxed when he read his poem ‘A Gift Outright’ at the inauguration of President John F Kennedy in 1961, ( he was the first poet to read a poem at an inauguration). Although those who knew him best admitted that he could be prickly, even nasty, none denied his achievements as a poet. His work is distinguished by its everyday language, New England settings, and the natural world, as in North of Boston (1914). Individual poems, such as ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, ‘Mending Wall’, and ‘The Death of a Hired Man’, have ensured his popularity as well as critical acclaim.

Robert Frost died Jan. 29, 1963, in Boston.

Inscription on tombstone:

MAR. 26, 1874     JAN. 29, 1965
"I had a lover's quarrel with the world"


The Road Not Taken
On Going Unnoticed
A Disused Grave Yard


An excellent site to view many of Robert Frost's poems:
Famous Poets and Poems


Some more of his poems includes:
A Boy's Will
Into My Own, My November Guest, Stars, To the Thawing Wind, A Prayer in Spring, Flower-Gathering, Rose Pogonias, A Dream Pang, In Neglect, The Vantage Point, Mowing, Going For Water, Revelation, The Tuft of Flower, The Demiurge's Laugh, Now Close the Windows, In Hardwood Groves October, Reluctance, The Trial by Existence, Pan With Us A Line,-Storm,, Song, Ghost House, Love and A Question.

North of Boston
Home Burial, After Apple-Picking, The Wood-Pile, Good Hours, The Code, The Fear, A Servant to Servants, The Self-Seeker, The Mountain The Housekeeper, The Generations of Men, The Black Cottage, A Hundred Collars Blueberries.

Mountain Interval
An Old Man's Winter Night, The Exposed Nest, A Patch of Old Snow, The Telephone, Meeting and Passing, Hyla Brook, The Oven Bird, Bond and Free , Birches, Putting In The Seed, A Time to Talk, The Cow, In Apple-Time, Range-Finding, The Hill Wife, 'Out, Out--', The Gum-Gatherer, The Line-Gang, The Vanishing Red.


[Poet's Corner Index]


Reference, Research and Source Information

The History Channel

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