Robert Frost Biography


Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, however, his household moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1884 following his father’s dying. The transfer was truly a return, for Frost’s ancestors had been initially New Englanders, and Frost turned well-known for his poetry’s engagement with New England locales, identities, and themes. Frost graduated from Lawrence Excessive College, in 1892, as a class poet (he additionally shared the dignity of co-valedictorian together with his wife-to-be Elinor White), and two years later, the New York Impartial accepted his poem entitled “My Butterfly,” launching his standing as an expert poet with a verify for $15.00. Frost’s first e-book was revealed across the age of 40, however, he would go on to win a document 4 Pulitzer Prizes and develop into probably the most well-known poet of his time, earlier than his dying on the age of 88.

To have fun his first publication, Frost had a ebook of six poems privately printed; two copies of Twilight had been made—one for himself and one for his fiancee. Over the subsequent eight years, nonetheless, he succeeded in having solely 13 extra poems revealed. Throughout this time, Frost sporadically attended Dartmouth and Harvard and earned a residing educating college and, later, working a farm in Derry, New Hampshire. However in 1912, discouraged by American magazines’ fixed rejection of his work, he took his household to England, the place he discovered extra skilled success. Persevering with to write down about New England, he had two books revealed, A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914), which established his fame in order that his return to the USA in 1915 was as a celebrated literary determine. Holt put out an American version of North of Boston in 1915, and periodicals that had as soon as scorned his work now sought it. 

Frost’s place in American letters was cemented with the publication of North of Boston, and within the years earlier than his dying he got here to be thought-about the unofficial poet laureate of the USA. On his 75th birthday, the US Senate handed a decision in his honor which mentioned, “His poems have helped to information American thought and humor and knowledge, setting forth to our minds a dependable illustration of ourselves and of all males.” In 1955, the State of Vermont named a mountain after him in Ripton, the city of his authorized residence; and on the presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961, Frost was given the unprecedented honor of being requested to learn a poem. Frost wrote a poem referred to as “Dedication” for the event, however couldn’t learn it given the day’s harsh daylight. He as a substitute recited “The Reward Outright,” which Kennedy had initially requested him to learn, with a revised, extra forward-looking, final line.

Although Frost allied himself with no literary college or motion, the imagists helped at first to advertise his American fame. Poetry: A Journal of Verse revealed his work earlier than others started to clamor for it. It additionally revealed a assessment by Ezra Pound of the British version of A Boy’s Will, which Pound mentioned “has the tang of the New Hampshire woods, and it has simply this utter sincerity. It isn’t post-Miltonic or post-Swinburnian or submit Kiplonian. This man has the great sense to talk naturally and to color the factor, the factor as he sees it.” Amy Lowell reviewed North of Boston within the New Republic, and he or she, too, sang Frost’s praises: “He writes in traditional metres in a solution to set the enamel of all of the poets of the older faculties on edge; and he writes in traditional metres, and makes use of inversions and cliches at any time when he pleases, these units so abhorred by the most recent era. He goes his personal means, no matter anybody else’s guidelines, and the result’s a e book of surprising energy and sincerity.” In these first two volumes, Frost launched not solely his affection for New England themes and his distinctive mix of conventional meters and colloquialism, but additionally his use of dramatic monologues and dialogues. “Mending Wall,” the main poem in North of Boston, describes the pleasant argument between the speaker and his neighbor as they stroll alongside their widespread wall changing fallen stones; their differing attitudes towards “boundaries” provide symbolic significance typical of the poems in these early collections. 

Mountain Interval marked Frost’s flip to a different type of poem, a quick meditation sparked by an object, particular person or occasion. Just like the monologues and dialogues, these quick items have a dramatic high quality. “Birches,” mentioned above, is an instance, as is “The Road Not Taken,” during which a fork in a woodland path transcends the particular. The excellence of this quantity, the Boston Transcript mentioned, “is that Mr. Frost takes the lyricism of A Boy’s Will and performs a deeper music and provides a extra intricate number of expertise.” 

A number of new qualities emerged in Frost’s work with the looks of New Hampshire (1923), significantly a brand new self-consciousness and willingness to talk of himself and his artwork. The quantity, for which Frost gained his first Pulitzer Prize, “pretends to be nothing however an extended poem with notes and style notes,” as Louis Untermeyer described it. The title poem, roughly fourteen pages lengthy, is a “rambling tribute” to Frost’s favourite state and “is starred and dotted with scientific numerals within the method of probably the most profound treatise.” Thus, a footnote on the finish of a line of poetry will refer the reader to a different poem seemingly inserted to merely reinforce the textual content of “New Hampshire.” A few of these poems are within the type of epigrams, which seem for the primary time in Frost’s work. “Fire and Ice,” for instance, one of many higher recognized epigrams, speculates on the means by which the world will finish. Frost’s most well-known and, in accordance with J. McBride Dabbs, most good lyric, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” can be included on this assortment; conveying “the insistent whisper of dying on the coronary heart of life,” the poem portrays a speaker who stops his sleigh within the midst of a snowy woods solely to be referred to as from the inviting gloom by the recollection of sensible duties. Frost himself mentioned of this poem that it’s the variety he’d prefer to print on one web page adopted with “forty pages of footnotes.” 

West-Working Brook (1928), Frost’s fifth e book of poems, is split into six sections, one in all which is taken up completely by the title poem. This poem refers to a brook which perversely flows west as a substitute of east to the Atlantic like all different brooks. A comparability is ready up between the brook and the poem’s speaker who trusts himself to go by “contraries”; additional rebellious components exemplified by the brook give expression to an eccentric individualism, Frost’s stoic theme of resistance and self-realization. Reviewing the gathering within the New York Herald Tribune,Babette Deutsch wrote: “The braveness that’s bred by a darkish sense of Destiny, the tenderness that broods over mankind in all its blindness and absurdity, the imaginative and prescient that involves relaxation as absolutely on kitchen smoke and lapsing snow as on mountains and stars—these are his, and in his seemingly informal poetry, he quietly makes them ours.” 

A Additional Vary (1936), which earned Frost one other Pulitzer Prize and was a E book-of-the-Month Membership choice, incorporates two teams of poems subtitled “Taken Doubly” and “Taken Singly.” Within the first, and extra attention-grabbing, of those teams, the poems are considerably didactic, although there are humorous and satiric items as nicely. Included right here is “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” which opens with the story of two itinerant lumbermen who provide to chop the speaker’s wooden for pay; the poem then develops right into a sermon on the connection between work and play, vocation and avocation, preaching the need to unite them. Of all the quantity, William Rose Benét wrote, “It’s higher value studying than nine-tenths of the books that may come your means this yr. In a time when all types of madness are assailing the nations it’s good to hearken to this quiet humor, even a few hen, a hornet, or Sq. Matthew. … And if anyone ought to ask me why I nonetheless consider in my land, I’ve solely to place this e book in his hand and reply, ‘Nicely-here is a person of my nation.’” Most critics acknowledge that Frost’s poetry within the 1940s and ’50s grew increasingly more summary, cryptic, and even sententious, so it’s usually on the idea of his earlier work that he’s judged. His politics and spiritual religion, hitherto knowledgeable by skepticism and native coloration, turned increasingly more the guiding rules of his work. He had been, as Randall Jarrell factors out, “a really odd and really radical radical when younger” but turned “typically callously and unimaginatively conservative” in his previous age. He had develop into a public determine, and within the years earlier than his dying, a lot of his poetry was written from this stance. 

Reviewing A Witness Tree (1942) in Books, Wilbert Snow famous just a few poems “which have a proper to face with one of the best issues he has written”: “Come In,” “The Silken Tent,” and “Carpe Diem” particularly. But Snow went on: “A few of the poems listed below are little greater than rhymed fancies; others lack the bullet-like unity of construction to be present in North of Boston.” Alternatively, Stephen Vincent Benet felt that Frost had “by no means written any higher poems than a few of these on this e book.” Equally, critics had been let down by Within the Clearing (1962). One wrote, “Though this reviewer considers Robert Frost to be the foremost up to date U.S. poet, he regretfully should state that many of the poems on this new quantity are disappointing. … [They] usually are nearer to jingles than to the memorable poetry we affiliate together with his identify.” One other maintained that “the majority of the e book consists of poems of ‘philosophic speak.’ Whether or not you want them or not relies upon totally on whether or not you share the ‘philosophy.’” 

Certainly, many readers do share Frost’s philosophy, and nonetheless others who don’t however proceed to search out delight and significance in his giant physique of poetry. In October, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech on the dedication of the Robert Frost Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. “In honoring Robert Frost,” the President mentioned, “we due to this fact will pay honor to the deepest supply of our nationwide power. That power takes many types and the obvious types will not be all the time probably the most vital. … Our nationwide power issues; however the spirit which informs and controls our power issues simply as a lot. This was the particular significance of Robert Frost.” The poet would most likely have been happy by such recognition, for he had mentioned as soon as, in an interview with Harvey Breit: “One factor I care about, and need younger individuals may care about, is taking poetry as the primary type of understanding. If poetry isn’t understanding all, the entire world, then it isn’t value something.” 

Frost’s poetry is revered to today. When a beforehand unknown poem by Frost titled “Warfare Ideas at House,” was found and dated to 1918, it was subsequently revealed within the Fall 2006 difficulty of the Virginia Quarterly Assessment. The primary version Frost’s Notebooks had been revealed in 2009, and hundreds of errors had been corrected within the paperback version years later. A crucial version of his Collected Prose was revealed in 2010 to broad crucial acclaim. A multi-volume sequence of his Collected Letters is now in manufacturing, with the primary quantity showing in 2014 and the second in 2016.

Robert Frost continues to carry a singular and virtually remoted place in American letters. “Although his profession absolutely spans the fashionable interval and although it’s not possible to talk of him as something apart from a contemporary poet,” writes James M. Cox, “it’s tough to position him in the primary custom of contemporary poetry.” In a way, Frost stands on the crossroads of 19th-century American poetry and modernism, for in his verse could also be discovered the fruits of many 19th-century tendencies and traditions in addition to parallels to the works of his 20th-century contemporaries. Taking his symbols from the general public area, Frost developed, as many critics observe, an authentic, fashionable idiom and a way of directness and financial system that replicate the imagism of Ezra Pound and Amy Lowell. Alternatively, as Leonard Unger and William Van O’Connor level out in Poems for Research, “Frost’s poetry, not like that of such contemporaries as Eliot, Stevens, and the later Yeats, exhibits no marked departure from the poetic practices of the nineteenth century.” Though he avoids conventional verse types and solely makes use of rhyme erratically, Frost is just not an innovator and his approach is rarely experimental. 

Frost’s principle of poetic composition ties him to each centuries. Just like the 19th-century Romantic poets, he maintained {that a} poem is “by no means a put-up job. … It begins as a lump within the throat, a way of flawed, a homesickness, a loneliness. It’s by no means a thought to start with. It’s at its finest when it’s a tantalizing vagueness.” But, “understanding his personal model of the ‘impersonal’ view of artwork,” as Hyatt H. Waggoner noticed, Frost additionally upheld T.S. Eliot’s concept that the person who suffers and the artist who creates are completely separate. In a 1932 letter to Sydney Cox, Frost defined his conception of poetry: “The target concept is all I ever cared about. Most of my concepts happen in verse. … To be too subjective with what an artist has managed to make goal is to return on him presumptuously and render ungraceful what he in ache of his life had religion he had made sleek.” 

To perform such objectivity and style, Frost took up 19th-century instruments and made them new. Lawrance Thompson has defined that, in accordance with Frost, “the self-imposed restrictions of meter in kind and of coherence in content material” work to a poet’s benefit; they liberate him from the experimentalist’s burden—the perpetual seek for new types and different constructions. Thus Frost, as he himself put it in “The Fixed Image,” wrote his verse common; he by no means utterly deserted standard metrical types free of charge verse, as so a lot of his contemporaries had been doing. On the identical time, his adherence to meter, line size, and rhyme scheme was not an arbitrary selection. He maintained that “the freshness of a poem belongs completely to its not having been thought out after which set to verse because the verse in flip is likely to be set to music.” He believed, moderately, that the poem’s specific temper dictated or decided the poet’s “first dedication to metre and size of line.” 

Critics ceaselessly level out that Frost sophisticated his downside and enriched his fashion by setting conventional meters towards the pure rhythms of speech. Drawing his language primarily from the vernacular, he prevented synthetic poetic diction by using the accent of a soft-spoken New Englander. In The Operate of Criticism,Yvor Winters faulted Frost for his “endeavor to make his fashion approximate as intently as attainable the fashion of dialog.” However what Frost achieved in his poetry was rather more complicated than a mere imitation of the New England farmer idiom. He wished to revive to literature the “sentence sounds that underlie the phrases,” the “vocal gesture” that enhances that means. That’s, he felt the poet’s ear should be delicate to the voice with the intention to seize with the written phrase the importance of sound within the spoken phrase. “The Death of the Hired Man,” for example, consists virtually completely of dialogue between Mary and Warren, her farmer-husband, however critics have noticed that on this poem Frost takes the prosaic patterns of their speech and makes them lyrical. To Ezra Pound “The Demise of the Employed Man” represented Frost at his finest—when he “dared to write down … within the pure speech of New England; in pure spoken speech, which may be very totally different from the ‘pure’ speech of the newspapers, and of many professors.” 

Frost’s use of New England dialect is just one facet of his usually mentioned regionalism. Inside New England, his specific focus was on New Hampshire, which he referred to as “one of many two finest states within the Union,” the opposite being Vermont. In an essay entitled “Robert Frost and New England: A Revaluation,” W.G. O’Donnell famous how from the beginning, in A Boy’s Will, “Frost had already determined to present his writing an area habitation and a New England identify, to root his artwork within the soil that he had labored together with his personal arms.” Reviewing North of Boston within the New Republic, Amy Lowell wrote, “Not solely is his work New England in topic, it’s so in approach. … Mr. Frost has reproduced each individuals and surroundings with a vividness which is extraordinary.” Many different critics have lauded Frost’s potential to realistically evoke the New England panorama; they level out that one can visualize an orchard in “After Apple-Selecting” or think about spring in a farmyard in “Two Tramps in Mud Time.” On this “potential to painting the native reality in nature,” O’Donnell claims, Frost has no peer. The identical potential prompted Pound to declare, “I do know extra of farm life than I did earlier than I had learn his poems. Which means I do know extra of ‘Life.’” 


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