Robert Frost

Robert Frost Robert Lee Frost was born in San Francisco, California, on March 26, 1874 and was the son of William Prescott Frost and Isabelle Moodie Frost. After his father died in 1885, the family returned to Lawrence, Massachusetts, which was the home of Frosts grandparents. There he grew up through his high school years. After less than a year at Dartmouth College, he left to work in textile mill and to marry Elinor White, a high school classmate. When his academic experience at Harvard disappointed him, Frost returned to Lawrence and had a variety of jobs.

Finally, he became a chicken farmer in Derry, New Hampshire, on property that he bought from his grandfather. In 1912, Frost took his family to England, hoping that the residence there would help advance his poetic career. A British publisher accepted his first two volumes of verse, A Boys Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914). Both were published in the United States in 1915, the year the Frost family returned him and settled on a farm in Franconia, New Hampshire. He then became a summer farmer and poet-teacher, just like he was in Derry. Except for brief periods at the University of Michigan and Harvard, he spent his academic years 1916-1963 mainly at Amherst College.

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Meanwhile, as he was finishing the poem collection New Hampshire (1923), he decided that most of his living should be done in Vermont, where he helped create and sustain the Writers Conference at Middlebury Colleges Bread Loaf School of English. Frosts eventual poetic success was counter-pointed by much personal grief and loss. Several of the Frost children were stillborn or died in infancy – they are remembered in the poem Home Burial. Frosts son committed suicide and his daughter became insane. After his wifes death in 1938, the poet lived either alone or with friends. He died in Boston on January 29, 1963.

Frost kept his religious faith mostly to himself or confided it only to close friends (Smith). When it entered his poetry at all, it was usually in a very guarded fashion. Earlier poems such as Sitting by a Bush in Broad Daylight and Not All There imply religious attitudes, and later ones – A Masque of Mercy, Accidentally on Purpose, and Kitty Hawk – are explicitly religious. The “dark” poems – Spring Pools, A Leaf Trader, Design and The Draft Horse – expressing tragic moods rather than hard-won convictions, and the poems of endurance, like Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, seem more deeply felt and more perfectly executed. And it seems Frost knew instinctively that they would have more appeal in a naturalistic age. Robert Frost, an established American poet, lived to become his countrys unofficial poet laureate.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry four times and was awarded the Bollingen Prize posthumously. The U.S. Senate honored him on his 75th and 85th birthdays, and he had a prominent part in the inauguration ceremony for President John F. Kennedy in 1961, speaking the poem The Gift Outright, which he had written for the occasion. The poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, is about a man, or the author, that was going through his hectic life and than all the sudden, one evening, he actually stopped to look at his surroundings. He realized how beautiful his life and this world was and that sometimes theres too much going on to enjoy this. This poem is a metaphor for life.

So many people are involved in so many things that they can never enjoy whats happening right now in their lives. The author sits for a minute, studies his surroundings for once and then realizes that there is too much to do to just sit there. He finishes the poem by saying, “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.” This is the part where he comes back to his senses and realizes that he cant just sit there, that he must return to the real world and finish what has to be done in life before he can actually stop. The reason I picked this poem is because I can completely relate to it. Sometimes, in life, I have so many things going on (school, social, sports) that I never get a chance to just stop and take in my surroundings.

Then, when I finally do get a chance to slow down and enjoy everything, I realize that I must keep going: that I have to push on and on until my goals are achieved and I can finally “sleep”.

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