Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874 - 1963)

Robert Lee Frost, b. San Francisco, Mar. 26, 1874, d. Boston, Jan. 29, 1963, was one of America’s leading 20th-century poets and a four-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. An essentially pastoral poet often associated with rural New England, Frost wrote poems whose philosophical dimensions transcend any region. Although his verse forms are traditional – he often said, in a dig at arch rival Carl Sandburg, that he would as soon play tennis without a net as write free verse – he was a pioneer in the interplay of rhythm and meter and in the poetic use of the vocabulary and inflections of everyday speech. His poetry is thus both traditional and experimental, regional and universal.

After his father’s death in 1885, when young Frost was 11, the family left California and settled in Massachusetts. Frost attended high school in that state, entered Dartmouth College, but remained less than one semester. Returning to Massachusetts, he taught school and worked in a mill and as a newspaper reporter. In 1894 he sold “My Butterfly: An Elegy” to The Independent, a New York literary journal. A year later he married Elinor White, with whom he had shared valedictorian honors at Lawrence (Mass.) High School. From 1897 to 1899 he attended Harvard College as a special student but left without a degree. Over the next ten years he wrote (but rarely published) poems, operated a farm in Derry, New Hampshire (purchased for him by his paternal grandfather), and supplemented his income by teaching at Derry’s Pinkerton Academy.

In 1912, at the age of 38, he sold the farm and used the proceeds to take his family to England, where he could devote himself entirely to writing. His efforts to establish himself and his work were almost immediately successful. A Boy’s Will was accepted by a London publisher and brought out in 1913, followed a year later by North of Boston. Favorable reviews on both sides of the Atlantic resulted in American publication of the books by Henry Holt and Company, Frost’s primary American publisher, and in the establishing of Frost’s transatlantic reputation.

As part of his determined efforts on his own behalf, Frost had called on several prominent literary figures soon after his arrival in England. One of these was Ezra Pound, who wrote the first American review of Frost’s verse for Harriet Munroe’s Poetry magazine. (Though he disliked Pound, Frost was later instrumental in obtaining Pound’s release from long confinement in a Washington, D.C., mental hospital.) Frost was more favorably impressed and more lastingly influenced by the so-called Georgian poets Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, and T. E. Hulme, whose rural subjects and style were more in keeping with his own. While living near the Georgians in Gloucestershire, Frost became especially close to a brooding Welshman named Edward Thomas, whom he urged to turn from prose to poetry. Thomas did so, dedicating his first and only volume of verse to Frost before his death in World War I.

The Frosts sailed for the United States in February 1915 and landed in New York City two days after the U.S. publication of North of Boston (the first of his books to be published in America). Sales of that book and of A Boy’s Will enabled Frost to buy a farm in Franconia, N.H.; to place new poems in literary periodicals and publish a third book, Mountain Interval (1916); and to embark on a long career of writing, teaching, and lecturing. In 1924 he received a Pulitzer Prize in poetry for New Hampshire (1923). He was lauded again for Collected Poems (1930), A Further Range (1936) and A Witness Tree (1942). Over the years he received an unprecedented number and range of literary, academic, and public honors.

Frost’s importance as a poet derives from the power and memorability of particular poems. The Death of the Hired Man (from North of Boston) combines lyric and dramatic poetry in blank verse. After Apple-Picking (from the same volume) is a free-verse dream poem with philosophical undertones. Mending Wall (also published in North of Boston) demonstrates Frost’s simultaneous command of lyrical verse, dramatic conversation, and ironic commentary. The Road Not TakenBirches (from Mountain Interval) and the oft-studied Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (from New Hampshire) exemplify Frost’s ability to join the pastoral and philosophical modes in lyrics of unforgettable beauty.

The poetic and political conservatism of Frost caused him to lose favor with some literary critics, but his reputation as a major poet is secure. He unquestionably succeeded in realizing his life’s ambition: to write “a few poems it will be hard to get rid of.”

Biography by: Biography written by The Academic American Encyclopedia, © 1995 Grolier Electronic Publishing. Compiled and hyperlinked by Gunnar Bengtsson, 2000.

Poems By Robert Frost

Miscellaneous

Asking For Roses (15 Comments »)
Never Again Would Bird’s Song Be The Same (15 Comments »)
The Soldier (18 Comments »)

A Boy's Will

1. Into My Own (31 Comments »)
2. Ghost House (55 Comments »)
3. My November Guest (18 Comments »)
4. Love and a Question (22 Comments »)
5. A Late Walk (10 Comments »)
6. Stars (26 Comments »)
7. Storm Fear (5 Comments »)
8. Wind and Window Flower (23 Comments »)
9. To the Thawing Wind (5 Comments »)
10. A Prayer in Spring (16 Comments »)
11. Flower-Gathering (6 Comments »)
12. Rose Pogonias (6 Comments »)
13. Waiting (9 Comments »)
14. In a Vale (2 Comments »)
15. A Dream Pang (3 Comments »)
16. In Neglect (3 Comments »)
17. The Vantage Point (4 Comments »)
18. Mowing (6 Comments »)
19. Going for Water (4 Comments »)
20. Revelation (8 Comments »)
21. The Trial by Existence (7 Comments »)
22. The Tuft of Flowers (8 Comments »)
23. Pan with Us (3 Comments »)
24. The Demiurge’s Laugh (3 Comments »)
25. Now Close the Windows (4 Comments »)
26. In Hardwood Groves (10 Comments »)
27. A Line-Storm Song (3 Comments »)
28. October (12 Comments »)
29. My Butterfly (5 Comments »)
30. Reluctance (6 Comments »)

A Further Range

Desert Places (23 Comments »)
Design (32 Comments »)
Leaves Compared With Flowers (4 Comments »)
Neither Out Far Nor In Deep (8 Comments »)
Provide, Provide (8 Comments »)
They Were Welcome To Their Belief (2 Comments »)
Two Tramps In Mud Time (32 Comments »)

A Witness Tree

A Question (14 Comments »)
Come In (5 Comments »)
The Silken Tent (22 Comments »)

Collected Poems, Henry Holt & Co.

The Span Of Life (11 Comments »)

In the Clearing

But Outer Space (5 Comments »)

Mountain Interval

1. The Road Not Taken (550 Comments »)
2. Christmas Trees (11 Comments »)
3. An Old Man’s Winter Night (6 Comments »)
4. The Exposed Nest (1 Comment »)
5. A Patch of Old Snow (7 Comments »)
6. In the Home Stretch (No Comments »)
7. The Telephone (16 Comments »)
8. Meeting and Passing (4 Comments »)
9. Hyla Brook (20 Comments »)
10. The Oven Bird (8 Comments »)
11. Bond and Free (7 Comments »)
12. Birches (51 Comments »)
13. Pea Brush (5 Comments »)
14. Putting in the Seed (28 Comments »)
15. A Time to Talk (14 Comments »)
16. The Cow In Apple-Time (17 Comments »)
17. An Encounter (4 Comments »)
18. Range-Finding (3 Comments »)
19. The Hill Wife (1 Comment »)
20. The Bonfire (1 Comment »)
21. A Girl’s Garden (19 Comments »)
22. Locked Out (1 Comment »)
23. The Last Word of a Blue Bird (14 Comments »)
24. ‘Out, Out–‘ (69 Comments »)
25. Brown’s Descent (2 Comments »)
26. The Gum-Gatherer (2 Comments »)
27. The Line-Gang (2 Comments »)
28. The Vanishing Red (6 Comments »)
29. Snow (3 Comments »)
30. The Sound of the Trees (16 Comments »)

New Hampshire

1. New Hampshire (4 Comments »)
2. A Star in a Stoneboat (3 Comments »)
3. The Census-Taker (No Comments »)
4. The Star-Splitter (2 Comments »)
5. Maple (2 Comments »)
6. The Ax-Helve (1 Comment »)
7. The Grindstone (No Comments »)
8. Paul’s Wife (3 Comments »)
9. Wild Grapes (5 Comments »)
10. Place for a Third (1 Comment »)
11. I. The Witch of Coös (1 Comment »)
12. II. The Pauper Witch of Grafton (No Comments »)
13. An Empty Threat (2 Comments »)
14. A Fountain, a Bottle, a Donkey’s Ears, and Some Books (1 Comment »)
15. I Will Sing You One-O (4 Comments »)
16. Fragmentary Blue (4 Comments »)
17. Fire and Ice (137 Comments »)
18. In a Disused Graveyard (17 Comments »)
19. Dust of Snow (77 Comments »)
20. To E.T. (3 Comments »)
21. Nothing Gold Can Stay (325 Comments »)
22. The Runaway (22 Comments »)
23. The Aim was Song (10 Comments »)
24. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (250 Comments »)
25. For Once, Then, Something (8 Comments »)
26. Blue-Butterfly Day (2 Comments »)
27. The Onset (3 Comments »)
28. To Earthward (5 Comments »)
29. Good-by and Keep Cold (5 Comments »)
30. Two Look at Two (11 Comments »)
31. Not To Keep (1 Comment »)
32. A Brook in the City (No Comments »)
33. The Kitchen Chimney (2 Comments »)
34. Looking For a Sunset Bird in Winter (5 Comments »)
35. A Boundless Moment (No Comments »)
36. Evening in a Sugar Orchard (1 Comment »)
37. Gathering Leaves (8 Comments »)
38. The Valley’s Singing Day (1 Comment »)
39. Misgiving (3 Comments »)
40. A Hillside Thaw (3 Comments »)
41. Plowmen (2 Comments »)
42. On a Tree Fallen Across the Road (18 Comments »)
43. Our Singing Strength (2 Comments »)
44. The Lockless Door (73 Comments »)
45. The Need of Being Versed in Country Things (9 Comments »)

North of Boston

1. Mending Wall (67 Comments »)
2. The Death of the Hired Man (23 Comments »)
3. Home Burial (17 Comments »)
4. After Apple-Picking (32 Comments »)
5. The Wood-Pile (9 Comments »)
6. Good Hours (11 Comments »)
7. The Code (3 Comments »)
8. The Pasture (24 Comments »)
9. The Fear (5 Comments »)
10. A Servant to Servants (2 Comments »)
11. The Self-Seeker (1 Comment »)
12. The Mountain (1 Comment »)
13. The Housekeeper (2 Comments »)
14. The Generations of Men (2 Comments »)
15. The Black Cottage (6 Comments »)
16. A Hundred Collars (No Comments »)
17. Blueberries (3 Comments »)

Steeple Bush

A Cliff Dwelling (2 Comments »)
One Step Backward Taken (6 Comments »)

The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature (5th Edition)

“In White”: Frost’s Early Version Of Design (2 Comments »)

West-Running Brook

1. Spring Pools (10 Comments »)
2. The Freedom of the Moon (3 Comments »)
3. The Rose Family (24 Comments »)
4. Fireflies in the Garden (6 Comments »)
5. Atmosphere (2 Comments »)
6. Devotion (4 Comments »)
7. On Going Unnoticed (No Comments »)
8. Acceptance (5 Comments »)
9. The Cocoon (3 Comments »)
10. A Passing Glimpse (9 Comments »)
11. A Peck of Gold (15 Comments »)
12. Once By The Pacific (18 Comments »)
13. Lodged (5 Comments »)
14. A Minor Bird (30 Comments »)
15. Bereft (13 Comments »)
16. Tree At My Window (6 Comments »)
17. The Peaceful Shepherd (3 Comments »)
18. A Winter Eden (2 Comments »)
19. The Thatch (3 Comments »)
20. The Flood (4 Comments »)
21. Acquainted With the Night (50 Comments »)
22. Sand Dunes (7 Comments »)
23. Canis Major (6 Comments »)
24. A Soldier (4 Comments »)
25. Immigrants (5 Comments »)
26. Hannibal (5 Comments »)
27. The Flower Boat (1 Comment »)
28. The Times Table (2 Comments »)
29. The Investment (3 Comments »)
30. The Last Mowing (1 Comment »)
31. The Birthplace (5 Comments »)
32. The Door in the Dark (13 Comments »)
33. Dust in the Eyes (2 Comments »)
34. Sitting by a Bush in Broad Sunlight (5 Comments »)
35. The Armful (7 Comments »)
36. What Fifty Said (6 Comments »)
37. Riders (4 Comments »)
38. On Looking Up By Chance At The Constellations (3 Comments »)
39. The Bear (3 Comments »)
40. The Egg and the Machine (3 Comments »)
Analysis, meaning and summary of Robert Frost's poem The Egg and the Machine

3 Comments

  1. bruce palmer says:

    When my children and I were little we discussed this poem of Robert Frost and decided we did not know what the poem was about. But one thing was for sure, he cursed the car for not being built more acceseble. As any one who has worked on a car, sometimes, just sometimes we would like to strangle the guy who put it in those tiny little places!!!

  2. I. master bate daily says:

    this poem wasnt bad. i some what enjoyed it. unfortunatly yesterday an egg kilded my cat. and all my machines are rebeling. so i now hate this poem. down with the eggs and machines. by the way jim if your reading this i got your weed come get it now you lazy nigger.

  3. Greg Sweetwyne says:

    what is the actual meaning of this poem

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