Robert Frost Paper

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Robert Frost



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 archrival 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
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