choose the poem
We are now going to turn to one of America’s best-loved and most-read of poets, Robert Frost. First, read about Dramatic Poetry (of which Frost is a master) on pages 737, 795.
Then read the following poems by Frost: “The Road Not Taken” (892), “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (1143), “Fire and Ice” (1143), “Out, Out–” (736), and “Acquainted with the Night” (952). Pay attention to the study questions, if any, that follow each poem.
Consider how the following principles of poetry (all of which Frost himself attested to) might apply to any or all of these poems:
- Poetry “begins in delight and ends in wisdom.
- Poetry provides “a momentary stay against confusion” (for the speaker as well as the reader).
- â€Every poem is an epitome of the great predicament: a figure of the will breaking alien entanglements.â€
- “In order to know where we are, we must know opposites” (note how the speaker oftentimes considers opposites in the poem as a way of arriving at some truth).
- A poem is “not about what to think but about what thinking is and where it might lead.â€
- The poet’s life is “a revelation in the felicities of language.â€
- In times of crisis or intensity, many people turn to poetry. Why?
- Frost’s poetry is marked by deceptively simple language, subtle rhythm, beauty of phrasing, irony, and the speaker’s stoic resolve.
- Frost explores through his poetry the natural world, other people, ideas and ways of seeing – all for the sheer entertainment such explorations can provide. All of this captures Frost’s delight in writing poetry and the reader’s sheer delight in reading it.
Discussion Post Select one of the poems from this week’s reading assignment. Then do some online (or, preferably, library) research (stay away from Spark Notes, Wikipedia and other similarly unreliable sources) and find out what one of the prominent Frost literary biographers/critics (such as Jeffrey Meyers, Jay Parini, or another) has to say about the poem. Summarize his approach to the poem, explain why you agree or disagree, and then offer your own insights into the poem and its meaning for the reader.