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Robert Frost, Poet

His many books of poetry capture the Yankee soul, and the quintessence of New England living in the early 20th century.

Robert Frost
Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963)

Robert Frost (1874-1963) was born in San Francisco, but his family had lived in New England for generations.

He moved to New England early in life, attended Dartmouth College and Harvard University without taking a degree, and later returned to teach poetry at Amherst College and Harvard.

He lived and worked on two farms in New Hampshire now preserved as museums and monuments to the poet: The Frost Farm in Derry NH, and The Frost Place in Franconia NH.

Frost's poems usually take New England rural life as their settings, but in fact explore deeper, more universal philosophical themes.

Frost's poetic language is deceptively simple, supposedly echoing the plain speech of country people, but in fact tightly composed and evenly weighted.

Just about any American born before 1960 knows Frost's "The Road Not Taken:"

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Winner of four Pulitzer prizes for poetry, Frost also read his poem Dedication at the inauguration of New England's own President John F Kennedy in Washington DC in 1961.

Robert Frost died in his 89th year in Boston in 1963. His grave is in the churchyard of Old First Church in Old Bennington VT.

Novels by Tom Brosnahan
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