Robert Frost Contribution to American Literature

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      Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963), was born and raised on form in California in the northeastern United States until the age of 10. His father’s death forced him to return to New England where they settled in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He withdrew from the Dartmouth College in this first term to return to Lawrence support his family by teaching. In 1895, he married and applied to Harvard as a special student and he was accepted as three year program but withdrew after two years. Following the deaths of his son Eliot, and his mother and daughter Elinor, he fell into deep depression and seriously contemplated suicide. In 1912, he and his family moved to England where he found a publisher to his first book of verse, A Boy’s Will (1913) It was followed by the second North of Boston (1914). These publications along with friendships with Ezra Pound and Edward Thomas increased his exposure in literary magazines. In 1915, he returned to US and settled on a farm in New Hampshire. There, Frost, the poet of nature was nurtured.

      Robert Frost, verse heavily relies on the language of the people. Many of his poems take the form of dramatic monologues or dialogues, using the transferring New Englander’s patterns of speech. His third collection Mountain Interval (1916) Like Eliot and Pound, he went to England, attracted by new movements in poetry there. A charismatic public reader, he was renowned for his tours. He read an original work at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961 that helped to spark a national interest in poetry. His popularity is easy to explain: he wrote in the traditional farm life, appealing to nostalgia for the old ways. His subjects are universal - the apple picking, stone walls, fences, country roads etc,. Frost’s approach was lucid and accessible: and he rarely employed pedantic allusions or ellipses. His frequent use of rhyme also appealed to the general audience.

      His fourth collection New Hampshire (1923) was published and soon was awarded Pulitzer Prize. This was followed by the West Running Brook (1928). His Collected Poems published in 1930 won his second Pulitzer. Frost’s poetic work is often deceptively simple. Many Poems suggest a deeper meaning. For example, a quiet snowy evening by an almost hypnotic rhyme scheme may suggest not entirely unwelcome approach of death. From: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (1923):

“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...And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep”.

      Frost collection A Further Range (1936) and A Witness Tree (1942) brought him more popularity. A Masque of Reason (1945) and A Masque of Mercy (1947) are his later collections of mature poetry. These last collections of poetry were in dramatic blank verse, portraying biblical characters and exploring the relation between Man and God in the modern world. In 1947, he published A Steeple Bush a collection of lyrics. He wrote poetry, to the end of his life although he was sick and ailing. His last collection In the Clearing appeared in 1962.

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