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Classic Poetry from Passions in Poetry

Robert Frost 1874 - 1963

Robert Frost's books include A Boy's Will in 1913, North of Boston in 1914, Mountain Interval in 1916, New Hampshire in 1923 (for which Frost was awarded his first Pulitzer Prize), West-Running Brook in 1928, A Further Range in 1936 (giving Frost a third Pulitzer), A Witness Tree in 1942 (becoming the first person to receive the Prize four times), A Masque of Reason in 1945, Steeple Bush in 1947, A Masque of Mercy in 1947, and In the Clearing in 1962.

Additionally, his publishers released numerous anthologies and collections, including Selected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1923), Selected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1928), Collected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1930, which results in second Pulitzer in 1931), Selected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1934), Selected Poems (London: Jonathan Cape, 1936), Collected Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1939), The Poems (New York: Modern Library, 1946), Complete Poems (New York: Henry Holt, 1949), Aforesaid (New York: Henry Holt, 1954), Selected Poems (London: Penguin Books, 1955), and Selected Poems (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963).

Robert Frost's earliest work is now in the public domain, but all of his latter work remains under copyright protection and cannot be reproduced with permission.


by Ron Robert Frost, four time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, was arguably America's most widely read and constantly anthologized poet of the Twentieth Century. Although his poetry was often associated with rural New England, earning Frost a label as a pastoral poet, his work was not merely regional but was philosophically universal. Four decades after his death, Robert Frost remains one of America's leading 20th-Century poets.

Frost's earliest years are often glossed over in biographies, a pity since his childhood very much shaped his life. Indeed, the Frost roots date back to 1634, when Nicholas Frost arrived in New England to farm. Samuel Abbott Frost, son of Nicholas, was also a farmer in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as was his son and grandfather to Robert, William Prescott Frost. The farming tradition was broken, however, by Robert Frost's father.

Robert's father, William Prescott, Jr., was a nonconformist who left his New England home in search of a more adventurous life in San Francisco. A former teacher turned journalist, William was a hard drinker, a gambler, and a largely frustrated politician. The newspaper William edited was Democratic, and his son's full name was Robert E. Lee Frost, two fairly telling clues as to William's political leanings. He was a Copperhead, a Northern sympathizer with the South during the Civil War.

Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874, just two years before his father was initially diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis. Robert started kindergarten in 1879, but complained of nervous stomach pains and did not return to school after his first day. He lasted a little longer in the first grade, 1880, but soon dropped out again. In 1881, Frost was baptized in his mother's church and entered second grade, but finally dropped out yet again in 1882 to ultimately be educated at home. This continued for three years, until 1885, when Robert's father died on May 5. Robert was eleven years old.

The Frost family (his sister, Jeanie Florence, was born in 1876), left nearly destitute with only $8, moved back to Massachusetts in 1885. After testing, Robert entered the third grade, though his younger sister was admitted to the fourth grade. This was short-lived, though, as the family again moved in 1886, this time to New Hampshire, where Frost's mother took a job teaching the fifth to eighth grades, and both Robert and Jeanie entered the fifth grade.

In 1888, Robert Frost entered high school, finishing 1889 at the head of his class. In 1890, Frost's first published poem appeared in the high school newspaper, quickly followed by a second, and in 1891 Robert was elected chief editor. That same year, he met and fell in love with another student, Elinor Miriam White, and they were engaged in 1892. Although he passed the entrance exams for Harvard, Robert instead entered Dartmouth College in 1892, partly because it was cheaper, but largely because his grandfather blamed Harvard for the bad habits of Robert's father. It doesn't matter much, because in December, Robert left Dartmouth.

Robert Frost turned to teaching grade school like his mother, first in Methuen and later in Salem. Unlike Robert, his betrothed, Elinor, returned to college in spite of Robert's attempt to convince her to marry him. In March, 1894, he learns The Independent will publish his poem "My Butterfly: An Elegy" for $15. Excited, he engaged a printer to make two leather-bound, gold-stamped copies of a collection of his poetry, called "Twilight," and again tried to convince Elinor to marry him at once. He took the train to Canton, knocked at her door, and handed her one of the books. But Elinor's cool reception and continued refusal to marry him incited Frost to destroy the remaining copy.

Over 18 months later, on December 19, 1895, Robert and Elinor were finally married in a ceremony conducted by a Swedenborgian pastor. Their first child, Elliot, was born on September 25, 1896, and the following year, 1897, Robert Frost borrowed money from his grandfather and entered Harvard as a freshman. His education lasted only two years, however, and Frost withdrew from Harvard in 1899, only a month before his daughter, Lesley, was born on April 28.

The next few years are hard ones for the Frost family. On July 8, 1990. Robert's three-year-old son died of cholera. Elinor suffered severe depression and Robert, blaming himself for not calling a doctor sooner, was little better. But they still had 14-month-old Lesley to care for, and when their landlord ordered them to leave, Elinor persuaded Grandfather Frost to buy and rent them a 30 acre farm in Derry, New Hampshire.

In November, Robert's mother died of cancer after a brief stay in a Penacook, NH, sanatorium. In July of the following year, 1901, grandfather William Prescott Frost also died. Frost was left an annuity of $500 and the Derry Farm in his grandfather's will, but there was a significant catch - he must keep the farm for ten years, after which the annuity would increase to $800 and he would own the farm free-and-clear.

The Derry Years, from 1900 to 1911, were among Robert Frost's most creative. He worked the farm by day, learning about the countryside and its people, and wrote at night. In 1906, with four children under seven and short of money, Frost took a teaching position with the nearby Pinkerton Academy, which he held with great success for five years.

In 1912, at the age of 38, Robert Frost sold the Derry farm and used the money to take his family to England, where he hoped to devote himself entirely to writing. It was at this point that the literary career of Frost was to have its true beginning.

Almost immediately after their arrival in England, "A Boy's Will" was accepted by a London publisher and brought out in 1913, followed a year later by "North of Boston." Both books were comprised almost entirely of poems written during the Derry Years, and both were reviewed very favorably on both sides of the Atlantic.

As part of his efforts on his own behalf, Frost called on numerous literary figures while in England, including the famous Ezra Pound, who later wrote the first American review of Frost's poetry. William Butler Yeats, after meeting Frost, told Pound that A Boy's Will was "the best poetry written in America for a long time." Frost also met Lascelles Abercrombie, Rupert Brooke, and T. E. Hulme, the Georgian poets whose rural themes were more in keeping with Frost's own. He became especially close to Edward Thomas, whom he urged to turn from prose to poetry, resulting in Thomas's only volume of verse, which was dedicated to Frost.

In early 1915, the Frost family returned to America, landing in New York City just two days after the release of "North of Boston" by Henry Holt and Company, Frost's principal American publisher. In April, "A Boy's Will" was also published, and Frost bought a farm in Franconia, New Hampshire. The following year, 1916, was to set the pattern for much of Robert Frost's life. He gave talks and readings throughout New England, was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letter, saw the publication of yet another book, "Mountain Interval," and accepted an offer from Amerhert College to teach a single semester for $2,000. His lecture sphere would eventually extend far beyond his home states, he would see many, many more honors and nearly as many books published, and he eventually would hold positions, both real and honorary at colleges and universities across the country.

Available Poems
Not to Keep
Place for a Third
The Ax-helve
Wild Grapes
1913 A Boy's Will - Into My Own
1913 A Boy's Will - Ghost House
1913 A Boy's Will - My November Guest
1913 A Boy's Will - Love and a Question
1913 A Boy's Will - A Late Walk
1913 A Boy's Will - Stars
1913 A Boy's Will - Storm Fear
1913 A Boy's Will - Wind and Window Flower
1913 A Boy's Will - To the Thawing Wind
1913 A Boy's Will - A Prayer In Spring
1913 A Boy's Will - Flower-gathering
1913 A Boy's Will - Rose Pogonias
1913 A Boy's Will - Asking for Roses
1913 A Boy's Will - Waiting - Afield at Dusk
1913 A Boy's Will - In a Vale
1913 A Boy's Will - A Dream Pang
1913 A Boy's Will - In Neglect
1913 A Boy's Will - The Vantage Point
1913 A Boy's Will - Mowing
1913 A Boy's Will - Going for Water
1913 A Boy's Will - Revelation
1913 A Boy's Will - The Trial By Existence
1913 A Boy's Will - In Equal Sacrifice
1913 A Boy's Will - The Tuft Of Flowers
1913 A Boy's Will - Spoils of the Dead
1913 A Boy's Will - Pan with Us
1913 A Boy's Will - The Demiurge's Laugh
1913 A Boy's Will - Now Close the Windows
1913 A Boy's Will - A Line-storm Song
1913 A Boy's Will - October
1913 A Boy's Will - My Butterfly
1913 A Boy's Will - Reluctance
1914 North of Boston - Dedication To E. M. F. - The Pasture
1914 North of Boston - Mending Wall
1914 North of Boston - The Death Of The Hired Man
1914 North of Boston - The Mountain
1914 North of Boston - A Hundred Collars
1914 North of Boston - Home Burial
1914 North of Boston - The Black Cottage
1914 North of Boston - Blueberries
1914 North of Boston - A Servant To Servants
1914 North of Boston - After Apple-picking
1914 North of Boston - The Code
1914 North of Boston - The Generations Of Men
1914 North of Boston - The Housekeeper
1914 North of Boston - The Fear
1914 North of Boston - The Self-seeker
1914 North of Boston - The Wood-pile
1914 North of Boston - Good Hours
1916 Mountain Interval - The Road Not Taken
1916 Mountain Interval - Christmas Trees
1916 Mountain Interval - An Old Man's Winter Night
1916 Mountain Interval - A Patch of Old Snow
1916 Mountain Interval - In the Home Stretch
1916 Mountain Interval - The Telephone
1916 Mountain Interval - Meeting and Passing
1916 Mountain Interval - Hyla Brook
1916 Mountain Interval - The Oven Bird
1916 Mountain Interval - Bond and Free
1916 Mountain Interval - Birches
1916 Mountain Interval - Pea Brush
1916 Mountain Interval - Putting in the Seed
1916 Mountain Interval - A Time to Talk
1916 Mountain Interval - The Cow in Apple Time
1916 Mountain Interval - An Encounter
1916 Mountain Interval - Range-finding
1916 Mountain Interval - The Hill Wife
1916 Mountain Interval - The Bonfire
1916 Mountain Interval - A Girl's Garden
1916 Mountain Interval - The Exposed Nest
1916 Mountain Interval - "Out, Out-"
1916 Mountain Interval - Brown's Descent, or the Willy-nilly Slide
1916 Mountain Interval - The Gum-gatherer
1916 Mountain Interval - The Line-gang
1916 Mountain Interval - The Vanishing Red
1916 Mountain Interval - Snow
1916 Mountain Interval - The Sound of the Trees
1923 New Hampshire - The Grindstone
1923 New Hampshire - I Will Sing You One-O
1923 New Hampshire - Fragmentary Blue
1923 New Hampshire - In a Disused Grave Yard
1923 New Hampshire - Fire and Ice
1923 New Hampshire - Dust of Snow
1923 New Hampshire - To E.T.
1923 New Hampshire - Nothing Gold Can Stay
1923 New Hampshire - The Aim was Song
1923 New Hampshire - Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
1923 New Hampshire - For Once, Then, Something
1923 New Hampshire - Blue-Butterfly Day
1923 New Hampshire - The Onset
1923 New Hampshire - To Earthward
1923 New Hampshire - The Runaway
1923 New Hampshire - Good-by and Keep Cold
1923 New Hampshire - Two Look at Two
1923 New Hampshire - A Brook in the City
1923 New Hampshire - The Kitchen Chimney
1923 New Hampshire - A Boundless Moment
1923 New Hampshire - Evening in a Sugar Orchard
1923 New Hampshire - Gathering Leaves
1923 New Hampshire - The Valley's Singing Day
1923 New Hampshire - Misgiving
1923 New Hampshire - A Hillside Thaw
1923 New Hampshire - Plowmen
1923 New Hampshire - On a Tree Fallen Across the Road
1923 New Hampshire - Our Singing Strength
1923 New Hampshire - The Lockless Door
1923 New Hampshire - The Need of Being Versed in Country Things
1928 West-Running Brook - Spring Pools
1928 West-Running Brook - The Freedom of the Moon
1928 West-Running Brook - The Rose Family
1928 West-Running Brook - Fireflies in the Garden
1928 West-Running Brook - Atmosphere
1928 West-Running Brook - Devotion
1928 West-Running Brook - On Going Unnoticed
1928 West-Running Brook - Acceptance
1928 West-Running Brook - The Cocoon
1928 West-Running Brook - A Passing Glimpse
1928 West-Running Brook - A Peck of Gold
1928 West-Running Brook - Once By The Pacific
1928 West-Running Brook - Lodged
1928 West-Running Brook - A Minor Bird
1928 West-Running Brook - Bereft
1928 West-Running Brook - Tree At My Window
1928 West-Running Brook - The Peaceful Shepherd
1928 West-Running Brook - A Winter Eden
1928 West-Running Brook - The Thatch
1928 West-Running Brook - The Flood
1928 West-Running Brook - Acquainted With the Night
1928 West-Running Brook - Sand Dunes
1928 West-Running Brook - Canis Major
1928 West-Running Brook - A Soldier
1928 West-Running Brook - Immigrants
1928 West-Running Brook - Hannibal
1928 West-Running Brook - The Flower Boat
1928 West-Running Brook - The Times Table
1928 West-Running Brook - The Investment
1928 West-Running Brook - The Last Mowing
1928 West-Running Brook - The Birthplace
1928 West-Running Brook - The Door in the Dark
1928 West-Running Brook - Dust in the Eyes
1928 West-Running Brook - Sitting by a Bush in Broad Sunlight
1928 West-Running Brook - The Armful
1928 West-Running Brook - What Fifty Said
1928 West-Running Brook - Riders
1928 West-Running Brook - On Looking Up By Chance At The Constellations
1928 West-Running Brook - The Bear
1928 West-Running Brook - The Egg and the Machine

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