“Poetry Afternoon”

Robert Lee Frost    –    Born   –   March 28, 1874, San Francisco, California, United States  –

Died   –   January 29, 1963 – aged 88   –  Boston, Massachusetts, US

Poet, Playwright.  Alma Mater – Harvard University (no degree)

Notable Awards  –  Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Congressional Gold Medal

He was Married to Elinor Miriam White  –  1895 – 1938

Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California to Journalist William Prescott Frost jr and Isabelle Moodie.   His Mother was a Scottish immigrant, and his Father descended from Nicholas Frost of Tiverton, Devon, England  –  who sailed to New Hampshire in 1634 on the “Wolfrana”.

In 1912 Robert Frost sailed with his Family to the UK he settled first in Beaconsfield, a small town outside London.  His first book “A Boy’s Will” was published the next year.  In England he made some important acquaintances, which included Edward Thomas ( a member of the group known as the Dymock poets and Frost’s inspiration for “The Road Not Taken By”.  T. E. Hulme and Ezra Pound.  Although Pound would become the first American to write a favorable review of Frost’s work, Frost later resented Pound’s attempts to manipulate his American prosody.   Frost met or befriended many contemporary poets in England, especially after his first two poetry volumes were published in London in 1913 (“A Boy’s Will”) and 1914 (“North of Boston”).

For forty-two years from 1921 to 1963 Robert Frost spend almost every summer and fall teaching at The Bread Loaf School of English of Middlebury College, at its mountain campus at Ripton, Vermont.  He is credited as a major influence upon the development of the school and its writing programs.

Robert Frost’s personal life was plagued with grief and loss.   In 1885 when Frost was just 11, his Father died of tuberculosis, leaving the Family with just eight dollars.  Robert Frost’s Mother died of Cancer in 1900.  In 1920 Frost had to commit his younger Sister Jeanie to a mental hospital, where she died nine years later.  Mental illness apparently ran in Frost’s family as both he and his Mother suffered from depression, and his Daughter Irma was committed to a mental hospital in 1947.  Frost’s Wife, Elinor, also experienced bouts of depression.

Elinor and Robert Frost’s had six Children:  Son Elliot (1896-1904, died of cholera);  Daughter Lesley Frost Ballantine (1899-1983);  Son Carol (11902-1940, committed suicide);  Daughter Irma (1903-1967);  Daughter Marjorie (1905-1934, died as a result of puerperal fever after childbirth); and Daughter Elinor Bettina (died just three days after her birth in 1907).  Only Lesley and Irma outlived their Father.  Frost’s Wife who had heart problems throughout her life developed Breast Cancer in 1937 and died of Heart Failure in 1938.

Robert Frost was 86 years of age when he read his well-known poem “The Gift Outright” at the Inauguration of President John F Kennedy on January 20, 1961.  He Died in Boston two years later on January 29, 1963 of complicationsd from prostate surgery.  Robert Frost was buried at the Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont.   His Epitaph quotes the last line from his poem “The Lesson For Today(1942):  “I had a lover’s quarrel with the World.”

 

Robert Frost, a man whose poetry I admire a great deal.
“A Time to Talk”

When a friend calls to me from the road

and slows his horse to a meaning walk,

I don’t stand still and look around

On all the hills I haven’t hoed,

And shout from where I am, what is it?

No, not as there is a time to talk.

I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,

Blade-end up and five feet tall,

And plod:  I go up to the stone wall

For a friendly visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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