Robert Frost (1874-1963) was born in San Francisco, California. His father William Frost, a journalist and an ardent Democrat, died when Frost was about eleven years old. His Scottish mother, the former Isabelle Moody, resumed her career as a schoolteacher to support her family. The family lived in Lawrence, Massachusetts, with Frost's paternal grandfather, William Prescott Frost, who gave his grandson a good schooling. In 1892 Frost graduated from a high school and attended Darthmouth College for a few months. Over the next ten years he held a number of jobs. Frost worked among others in a textile mill and taught Latin at his mother's school in Methuen, Massachusetts. In 1894 the New York Independent published Frost's poem 'My Butterfly' and he had five poems privately printed. Frost worked as a teacher and continued to write and publish his poems in magazines. In 1895 he married a former schoolmate, Elinor White; they had six children.
From 1897 to 1899 Frost studied at Harvard, but left without receiving a degree. He moved to Derry, New Hampshire, working there as a cobbler, farmer, and teacher at Pinkerton Academy and at the state normal school in Plymouth. When he sent his poems to The Atlantic Monthly they were returned with this note: "We regret that The Atlantic has no place for your vigorous verse."
In 1912 Frost sold his farm and took his wife and four young children to England. There he published his first collection of poems, A BOY'S WILL, at the age of 39. It was followed by NORTH BOSTON (1914), which gained international reputation. The collection contains some of Frost's best-known poems: 'Mending Wall,' 'The Death of the Hired Man,' 'Home Burial,' 'A Servant to Servants,' 'After Apple-Picking,' and 'The Wood-Pile.' The poems, written with blank verse or looser free verse of dialogue, were drawn from his own life, recurrent losses, everyday tasks, and his loneliness.
While in England Frost was deeply influenced by such English poets as Rupert Brooke. After returning to the US in 1915 with his family, Frost bought a farm near Franconia, New Hampshire. When the editor of The Atlantic Monthly asked for poems, he gave the very ones that had previously been rejected. Frost taught later at Amherst College (1916-38) and Michigan universities. In 1916 he was made a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. On the same year appeared his third collection of verse, MOUNTAIN INTERVAL, which contained such poems as 'The Road Not Taken,' 'The Oven Bird,' 'Birches,' and 'The Hill Wife.' Frost's poems show deep appreciation of natural world and sensibility about the human aspirations. His images - woods, stars, houses, brooks, - are usually taken from everyday life. With his down-to-earth approach to his subjects, readers found it is easy to follow the poet into deeper truths, without being burdened with pedantry. Often Frost used the rhythms and vocabulary of ordinary speech or even the looser free verse of dialogue.
In 1920 Frost purchased a farm in South Shaftsbury, Vermont, near Middlebury College where he cofounded the Bread Loaf School and Conference of English. His wife died in 1938 and he lost four of his children. Two of his daughters suffered mental breakdowns, and his son Carol, a frustrated poet and farmer, committed suicide. Frost also suffered from depression and the continual self-doubt led him to cling to the desire to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. After the death of his wife, Frost became strongly attracted to Kay Morrison, whom he employed as his secretary and adviser. Frost also composed for her one of his finest love poems, 'A Witness Tree.'
Frost travelled in 1957 with his future biographer Lawrance Thompson to England and to Israel and Greece in 1961. He participated in the inauguration of President John Kennedy in 1961 by reciting two of his poems. When the sun and the wind prevented him from reading his new poem, 'The Preface', Frost recited his old poem, 'The Gift Outright', from memory. Frost travelled in 1962 in the Soviet Union as a member of a goodwill group. He had a long talk with Premier Nikita Khrushchev, whom he described as "no fathead"; as smart, big and "not a coward." Frost also reported that Khrushchev had said the United States was "too liberal to fight," it caused a considerable stir in Washington. Among the honors and rewards Frost received were tributes from the U.S. Senate (1950), the American Academy of Poets (1953), New York University (1956), and the Huntington Hartford Foundation (1958), the Congressional Gold Medal (1962), the Edward MacDowell Medal (1962). In 1930 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Amherst College appointed him Saimpson Lecturer for Life (1949), and in 1958 he was made poetry consultant for the Library of Congress.
At the time of his death on January 29, 1963, Frost was considered a kind of unofficial poet laureate of the US. "I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world," Frost once said. In his poems Frost depicted the fields and farms of his surroundings, observing the details of rural life, which hide universal meaning. His independent, elusive, half humorous view of the world produced such remarks as "I never take my side in a quarrel", or "I'm never serious except when I'm fooling." Although Frost's works were generally praised, the lack of seriousness concerning social and political problems of the 1930s annoyed some more socially orientated critics. Later biographers have created a complex and contradictory portrait of the poet. In Lawrance Thompson's humorless, three-volume official biography (1966-1976) Frost was presented as a misanthrope, anti-intellectual, cruel, and angry man, but in Jay Parini's work (1999) he was again viewed with sympathy: ''He was a loner who liked company; a poet of isolation who sought a mass audience; a rebel who sought to fit in. Although a family man to the core, he frequently felt alienated from his wife and children and withdrew into reveries. While preferring to stay at home, he traveled more than any poet of his generation to give lectures and readings, even though he remained terrified of public speaking to the end..."
Robert Frost Biography from ReadPrint.com
Poems By Robert Frost
4: A Dream Pang
9: Ghost House
10: Going for Water
11: Good Hours
14: Home Burial
15: Hyla Brook
19: Immigrants+ View All Poems
Quotes By Robert Frost
"A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain."
"A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity."
"A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age."
"A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer."
"A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel."
"A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes."
"A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body - the wishbone."
"A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness."
"A poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom."
"A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair."
"A successful lawsuit is the one worn by a policeman."
"Always fall in with what you're asked to accept. Take what is given, and make it over your way. My aim in life has always been to hold my own with whatever's going. Not against: with."
"And nothing to look backward to with pride, and nothing to look forward to with hope."
"And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world."
"Being the boss anywhere is lonely. Being a female boss in a world of mostly men is especially so."
"But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."
"By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day."
"College is a refuge from hasty judgment."
"Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up."
"Education doesn't change life much. It just lifts trouble to a higher plane of regard."
"Education is hanging around until you've caught on."
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence."
"For fear it would make me conservative when old."
"Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense."
"Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee, and I'll forgive Thy great big joke on me."
"Freedom lies in being bold."
"Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it."
"Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length."
"Hell is a half-filled auditorium."
"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in."
"Humor is the most engaging cowardice."
"I alone of English writers have consciously set myself to make music out of what I may call the sound of sense."
"I always entertain great hopes."
"I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn."
"I am glad the invitation pleases your family. It will please my family to the fourth generation and my family of friends and, were they living, it would have pleased inordinately the kind of Grover Cleveland Democrats I had for parents."
"I had a lovers quarrel with the world."
"I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering."
"I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way."
"I never dared to be radical when young for fear it would make me conservative when old."
"I often say of George Washington that he was one of the few in the whole history of the world who was not carried away by power."
"I'd just as soon play tennis with the net down."
"I'm not confused. I'm just well mixed."
"If one by one we counted people out For the least sin, it wouldn't take us long To get so we had no one left to live with. For to be social is to be forgiving."
"If society fits you comfortably enough, you call it freedom."
"If you don't know how great this country is, I know someone who does; Russia."
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
"Is due to truths being in and out of favor."
"It's a funny thing that when a man hasn't anything on earth to worry about, he goes off and gets married."
"Let him that is without stone among you cast the first thing he can lay his hands on."
"Life is tons of discipline. Your first discipline is your vocabulary; then your grammar and your punctuation Then, in your exuberance and bounding energy you say you're going to add to that. Then you add rhyme and meter. And your delight is in that power."
"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."
"Modern poets talk against business, poor things, but all of us write for money. Beginners are subjected to trial by market."
"Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor."
"My sorrow, when she's here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane."
"No memory of having starred atones for later disregard, or keeps the end from being hard."
"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader."
"Nobody was ever meant, To remember or invent, What he did with every cent."
"One aged man - one man - can't fill a house."
"Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat."
"Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance."
"Poetry is what gets lost in translation."
"Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words."
"Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things."
""Skepticism," is that anything more than we used to mean when we said, "Well, what have we here?""
"Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice."
"Style is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward."
"Take care to sell your horse before he dies. The art of life is passing losses on."
"Talking is a hydrant in the yard and writing is a faucet upstairs in the house. Opening the first takes the pressure off the second."
"The best things and best people rise out of their separateness; I'm against a homogenized society because I want the cream to rise."
"The best way out is always through."
"The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office."
"The chief reason for going to school is to get the impression fixed for life that there is a book side for everything."
"The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader."
"The father is always a Republican toward his son, and his mother's always a Democrat."
"The figure a poem makes. It begins in delight and ends in wisdom... in a clarification of life - not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects and cults are founded on, but in a momentary stay against confusion."
"The greatest thing in family life is to take a hint when a hint is intended-and not to take a hint when a hint isn't intended."
"The jury consist of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer."
"The middle of the road is where the white line is - and that's the worst place to drive."
"The only way round is through."
"The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work."
"The snake stood up for evil in the Garden."
"The strongest and most effective force in guaranteeing the long-term maintenance of power is not violence in all the forms deployed by the dominant to control the dominated, but consent in all the forms in which the dominated acquiesce in their own domination."
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."
"The world is full of willing people; some willing to work, the rest willing to let them."
"The worst disease which can afflict executives in their work is not, as popularly supposed, alcoholism; it's egotism."
"There is no arguing with him, for if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it."
"There is the fear that we shan't prove worthy in the eyes of someone who knows us at least as well as we know ourselves. That is the fear of God. And there is the fear of Man-fear that men won't understand us and we shall be cut off from them."
"They would not find me changed from him they knew - only more sure of all I thought was true."
"Thinking isn't agreeing or disagreeing. That's voting."
"To be a poet is a condition, not a profession."
"To be social is to be forgiving."
"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
"Two such as you with such a master speed, cannot be parted nor be swept away, from one another once you are agreed, that life is only life forevermore, together wing to wing and oar to oar."
"We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows."
"What is this talked-of mystery of birth. But being mounted bareback on the earth?"
"Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down."
"You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right part of the country."
"You can be a rank insider as well as a rank outsider."
"You don't have to deserve your mother's love. You have to deserve your father's."
"You have freedom when you're easy in your harness."