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Oct 25 2008

Robert Frost

Robert Frost

America’s Poet

Robert Frost
America’s Poet
March 26, 1874 to January 29, 1963

Robert Frost was many things to so many people during his life time. Well known as a writer, a teacher, a son, a husband, a brother, an Uncle, a Father, a playwrite, a Pulitzer prize winner, and so much more, but most of the World still considers Robert Lee Frost the most influential American poet of the century. He was born in San Francisco, California but spent time, in his later life, living both in New England and Wintering in Florida. Robert Frost’s body of work seemed to revolve around his own life experiences living in rural America in the early 1900’s.

During his lifetime he earned the utmost respect of the Literary community and received four coveted Pulitzer Prizes. In 1924 for “New Hampshire: A Poem With Notes and Grace Notes”, 1931 for “Collected Poems”, 1937 for “A Further Range” and in 1943 for “A Witness Tree”.

Robert Frost’s first published work was a poem in the Lawrence high school magazine. In 1894 he sold his first poem for fifteen dollars, a poem called “My Butterfly: An Elegy”. His first body of work was published in the November 8th, 1894 edition of the New York Independent Newspaper.

In 1912, Frost moved with his family to Great Britain and settled in Beaconsfield, outside London. It is believed that Frost wrote some of his finest works while living in England. In 1915, after returning to the States, he bought property in Franconia, New Hampshire, where he pursued a career of writing, teaching, and lecturing. Their family home at Franconia, served as his summer home until 1938. Starting in 1940, after buying a house and property in South Miami, Florida, he spent every Winter there until he died in Boston, on January 29, 1963 at the age of 88. As was the custom of the day he named his Florida home “Pencil Pines”.
Many remember hearing Robert Frost when he spoke at the inauguration of President Kennedy on January 20, 1961. He had written a poem called “Dedication” but instead recited his poem “The Gift Outright” at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. Although Frost had written the new poem, “Dedication,” faint ink in his typewriter made the words difficult to read with the suns glare on the snow that day, so he recited “The Gift Outright” from memory.

Robert Frost’s epitaph reads, “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

Robert Frost continues to be one of the most beloved writers of all time.

© 2008 oOdles of infOrmation

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life —

It goes on”

~ Robert Frost

Robert Frost on writing Poetry…

“A poem begins with a lump in the throat;
a home-sickness or a love-sickness.
It is a reaching-out toward expression;
an effort to find fulfillment.
A complete poem is one where
an emotion has found its thought
and the thought has found the words.”

~Robert Frost


Most Famous Poem of Robert Frost

photo by l watts

© 2007 photo courtesy L Watts

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

© Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

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.


the recited poem for JFK inaugural celebration

The Gift Outright
© Robert Frost
written 1942

The land was ours before we were the land’s.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia.
But we were England’s, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak.
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
The deed of gift was many deeds of war
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.


The undelivered Poem written for JFK’s inaugural celebration.
“Dedication” appears under the title,
“For John Kennedy His Inauguration,” in The Poetry of Robert Frost,
edited by Edward Connery Lathem and copyrighted 1969 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Dedication The Complete Text
© Robert Frost

Written in commemoration of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inauguration


Summoning artists to participate
In the august occasions of the state
Seems something artists ought to celebrate.
Today is for my cause a day of days.
And his be poetry’s old-fashioned praise
Who was the first to think of such a thing.
This verse that in acknowledgement I bring
Goes back to the beginning of the end
Of what had been for centuries the trend;
A turning point in modern history.
Colonial had been the thing to be
As long as the great issue was to see
What country’d be the one to dominate
By character, by tongue, by native trait,
The new world Christopher Columbus found.
The French, the Spanish, and the Dutch were downed
And counted out. Heroic deeds were done.
Elizabeth the First and England won.
Now came on a new order of the ages
That in the Latin of our founding sages
(Is it not written on the dollar bill
We carry in our purse and pocket still?)
God nodded his approval of as good.
So much those heroes knew and understood,
I mean the great four, Washington,
John Adams, Jefferson, and Madison
So much they saw as consecrated seers
They must have seen ahead what not appears,
They would bring empires down about our ears
And by the example of our Declaration
Make everybody want to be a nation.
And this is no aristocratic joke
At the expense of negligible folk.
We see how seriously the races swarm
In their attempts at sovereignty and form.
They are our wards we think to some extent
For the time being and with their consent,
To teach them how Democracy is meant.
“New order of the ages” did they say?
If it looks none too orderly today,
‘Tis a confusion it was ours to start
So in it have to take courageous part.
No one of honest feeling would approve
A ruler who pretended not to love
A turbulence he had the better of.
Everyone knows the glory of the twain
Who gave America the aeroplane
To ride the whirlwind and the hurricane.
Some poor fool has been saying in his heart
Glory is out of date in life and art.
Our venture in revolution and outlawry
Has justified itself in freedom’s story
Right down to now in glory upon glory.
Come fresh from an election like the last,
The greatest vote a people ever cast,
So close yet sure to be abided by,
It is no miracle our mood is high.
Courage is in the air in bracing whiffs
Better than all the stalemate and’s and ifs.
There was the book of profile tales declaring
For the emboldened politicians daring
To break with followers when in the wrong,
A healthy independence of the throng,
A democratic form of right devine
To rule first answerable to high design.
There is a call to life a little sterner,
And braver for the earner, learner, yearner.
Less criticism of the field and court
And more preoccupation with the sport.
It makes the prophet in us all presage
The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay,
In any game the nations want to play.
A golden age of poetry and power
Of which this noonday’s the beginning hour.

© Robert Frost

-Courtesy of the St. Lawrence University Archives

Other Selected Works – Partial List


* After Apple-Picking
* Acquainted With the Night
* An Old Man’s Winter Night
* Birches
* Choose Something Like a Star
* Come In
* Departmental
* Desert Places
* Design
* Directive
* Dust of Snow
* Fire and Ice (1916)
* For Once, Then Something
* A Girl’s Garden
* Good Hours
* Good-bye, and Keep Cold
* Mending Wall
* Neither Out Far Nor in Deep
* Dedication
* To E.T.
* The Death of the Hired Man
* The Generations of Men
* The Gift Outright
* The Black Cottage
* The Code
* The Fear
* The Mountain
* The Oven Bird
* The Tuft of Flowers
* Two Tramps in Mud Time
* The Wood-Pile
* The Pasture
* The Road Not Taken
* The Road That Lost its Reason
* The Rose Family
* The Runaway
* The Self-seeker
* The Sound Of The Trees
* The Star-Splitter
* Storm Fear
* A Soldier
* Nothing Gold Can Stay
* October
* Once By The Pacific (1916)
* Out, Out— (1916)
* Pan With Us
* Provide, Provide
* Putting in the Seed
* Range-Finding
* Reluctance
* A Servant to Servants
* Home Burial
* Spring Pools
* Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
* Stars
* My November Guest
* Ghost House
* Tree At My Window
* What Fifty Said
* Lure Of The West
* War Thoughts At Home

Poetry Collections – Partial List

* North of Boston (David Nutt, 1914; Holt, 1914)
* Mending Wall
* Mountain Interval (Holt, 1916)
* The Road Not Taken
* Selected Poems (Holt, 1923)


* A Way Out: A One Act Play (Harbor Press, 1929).
* The Cow’s in the Corn: A One Act Irish Play in Rhyme (Slide Mountain Press, 1929).
* A Masque of Reason (Holt, 1945).
* A Masque of Mercy (Holt, 1947).

Comments Off on Robert Frost

Oct 16 2008





I read a news article from 2006 that made me feel sad.
It was announced that week the Western Union telegram is now officially a thing of the past. As of a Friday in 2006, Western Union discontinued their telegram service that had lasted well over 150 years. The company was officially formed into Western Union in April 1856 by combining several telegraph companies that had been originally founded in 1851. Western Union has now decided to make the transition from a ‘communications company’ to a ‘financial services’ company.” There is no longer a telegram service available.

That’s what makes me sad.

It is indeed the end of an era.

I remember hearing my mother talk about telegrams, they were very popular back in the 1920’s and 30’s. She said telegrams were cheaper than phoning long distance and that you could save money by using the word “stop” instead of a period, since they charged extra for any punctuation. When anyone got a telegram all of the neighbors would congregate, sometimes bringing over a pot of coffee or a cake just to find out what the big news was…

All over the United States telegrams were used to make both World Changing and family announcements. Everything from the first successful airplane flight in 1903, the starting and ending of World Wars, the birth of new babies, the death of a loved one as well as impending visits by out-of-state relatives. Telegrams were heavily used to let loved ones know arriving and departure times at train stations or airports.

I used to ask her about how every day things went during the days of World War II. My Father was overseas and she told me there were those who feared and even hated the sight of the Western Union courier because the War Department, (Department of Defense) used telegrams to notify families of the death of their loved ones serving in the military. She said the young man that used to deliver telegrams in her neighborhood rode a bike and was often treated badly and chased down the alley-ways because he seldom brought Good news.

As that generation of Americans become older and so much of our history is being phased out due to finding easier quicker ways to do things, an important time in our History is being quickly forgotten. Many of the older folks have stories to share and memories that fade with the years. What amazes me is that many of the things that occur in our every day life that you and I remember vividly, no longer exist. Western Union phased out their couriers in the late 1960’s and early 70’s so there is an entire generation who will not realize what has been lost…

© 2006 oodles of infOrmation