“Robert Frost is a poet of genius because he could so often make his subtleties inextricable from an apparent availability.” (Poirier p. x)
Frost uses simple everyday subjects such as nature, man, and home to get his point across in his poetry.
Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco California. His father, William Prescott Frost, was a journalist who worked for the Daily Evening Post in San Francisco. His mother, Isabelle Moodie Frost, came into the United State when she was 12 years old. Frost was born a year after his parents had gotten married. After Frost’s father had died in 1885, he moved with his family to New England where he attended Lawrence High School. “Frost had published several poems in the school magazine and was named class poet.” (Bloom p.12) “He graduated in 1892, sharing valedictorian honors with Elinor White, to whom he became engaged.” (Bloom p. 12) Frost then went onto Dartmouth College, he ended up dropping out of school after one semester. “He instead pursued a variety of jobs, including teaching at his mothers private school and working in a textile mill. In 1894 he published a few poems in The Independent and began corresponding with its literary editor.” (Bloom p.12) In December 1895 he married Elinor. “In the early years of there marriage, Frost attended Harvard as a special student but withdrew in 1899 and took up poultry farming to support his growing family. The Frost’s family life, often strained by emotional and financial anxieties, was marked by a series of tragedies. Their first child, Elliott, died of cholera at age three. Another child, Elinor Bettina, died two days after birth. Of the four children who lived to adulthood, Frost’s daughter Marjorie died of childbed fever at age 29, and his son Carol committed suicide at age 39. Another daughter, Irma, had to be institutionalized for mental illness, as did Frost’s sister Jeanie.” (Bloom p.13) Frost moved with his family in 1912 to England so he could focus more on his poetry and book publication. “A Boy’s Will was published by the London firm of David Nutt and Company in 1913, and was reviewed favorably by American poet and critic Ezra Pound, a highly influential figure in modernist letters. Nutt published North of Boston a year later.” (Bloom p. 13) As Frost was continuing to write poetry, he began to pursue what would be a life long career as a part-time college teacher. He and his family moved between teaching posts in New Hampshire, Vermont, and many other places. “In the course of his lifetime, Frost was recognized with more than 17 honorary degrees from prestigious colleges and universities in the United States and England. He continued to write books of poetry, receiving the Pulitzer Prize and unprecedented four times.” (Bloom p.14) “Later in life Frost toured Europe, the Middle East, and South America as a cultural emissary and a personage.” (Myers p.24) Frost was chosen in 1961 to read at President Kennedy’s inauguration, he read “The Gift Outright”. Frost died on January 29,1963, just 2 years after reading at the president’s inauguration. He was said to be the most famous American poet and also the most popular of his time.
“If a reader, even the most superficial takes anything at all from Frost’s poems, it is likely to be a memorable impression created by the overwhelming presence of nature.” (Gerber p.131) “Frost visualizes man always cradled within nature, totally immersed in environment.” (Gerber p.132) “Frost’s views of nature does possess a persistent ethical or metaphysical dimension of very substantial importance in any examination of Frost’s work or of the values expressed in that work.” (Nitchie p.5) This is saying that Frost basically tends to pull away from the statements of a theory of nature, or man’s relationship. “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”, is said by many people to be one of Frost’s most famous poems. “He himself always offered it as the prime example of his commitment to convention.” (Gerber p. 85) “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” the pressure of distant responsibilities, referred to in abstract terms, prevents the speaker from lingering to contemplate a sensuously appealing landscape near at hand. In his longing for the darkness and sleep represented by the “lovely” woods swept by “easy wind and downy flake,” he seems to look forward to the final rest that succeeds all engagements with reality.” (Gerber p.76) ” Whose woods these are I think I know” suggests that is a poem concerned with ownership and does not choose to care even about owning himself. “The terrifying lightness of sight and sound leads the speaker to contemplate the woods as “lovely, dark, and deep,” a desire to lose himself in this self-annihilating scene.” (Bloom p.64)
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And Miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
This rejects nature’s impersonal plea in favor of purpose, the last verse refuses to imply whatever such purpose is self produced and determined