Reading Parini’s biography of Frost

19th March, 2010 - Posted by Christine Perrin - 1 Comment

Frost was interesting character.  He was a great walker, as so many other writers have been (to name a few:  CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien).  He sometimes went into the woods alone at night, which puzzled his friends at college.  When they asked him what he did on these walks he answered “I gnaw bark.”  Though private and solitary, Frosts poems often involve people.  They also involve paradox–he doesn’t want us to settle too easily into one reading, he means to explore the tensions in a given circumstance.  He never finished college, though in high school he had a rigorous Latin and classical education.  Outside of class he read heavily in literature not studied in school, including Cooper and Prescott. He said about college:  “we go to college to be given one more chance to learn to read in case we haven’t learned in High School.”

He was fascinated with another sort of paradox and made it his work to resolve the natural speaking voice and tradition meter.  In this he separated himself from both predecessors–Whitman and Dickinson.  Though he did follow Dickinson in other ways.  Emerson was also in his blood.  He said about his intentions and experience becoming an artist:  “…inflexible ambition trains us best, and to love poetry is to study it…the few rules I know in this art are my own afterthoughts, or else directly formulated from the masterpieces I reread.”

Posted on: March 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized

1 Comment

Shepherd Yaklin

April 2nd, 2010 at 7:16 pm    


I think Robert Frost going into the woods was a really important element in his poetry. When a closer look is taken at his poetry it usually is about nature or some season and the simple action of him taking a walk inspired him.

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