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,
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
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
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
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted
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
1963. His grave is in the churchyard of Old
First Church in Old
—by Tom Brosnahan