Saturday, July 31, 2010

Great American Literature- Robert Frost

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life – It goes on” – Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874-1963) was born in San Francisco, California but spent the majority of his life living and working in New England. He was a man whose family was challenged by mental illness and disease and who was unable to complete his college education despite many attempts. Yet, he married his love, Elinor, fathered six children and received over 40 honorary degrees, including ones from Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge universities; and he was the only person to receive two honorary degrees from Dartmouth College. At the age of 86 he spoke and performed a reading of his poetry at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. He was honored with four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry.

Though Frost tried his hands at many things including farming to support his family, it was always the writing of poetry that called to him. In 1894 he sold his first poem, "My Butterfly: An Elegy" (published in the November 8, 1894 edition of the New York Independent) for fifteen dollars. Of his collection of well over a hundred poems, many easily recall “The Road Not Taken” (often referenced as The Road Less Traveled.) However, it was “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” that Frost himself felt was his “best bid for remembrance.” He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. Frost continues to be a popular and often-quoted American poet as his contribution to American poetry is like the road chosen to be travelled. It “has made all the difference.”

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