Was "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" a favorite of the author?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The following is quoted from "Critical Essays" in the eNotes Study Guide for "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening":

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is generally regarded as Frost's masterpiece. The poem was included in Frost's collection New Hampshire (1923) for which he won the first of his four Pulitzer Prizes. It is Frost's most famous poem, and one which he himself viewed as his “best bid for remembrance.”

The poem is obviously a favorite of the author since he is quoted as calling it his "best bid for remembrance." Frost made frequent public appearances at colleges and other places, and he was often asked questions about this poem in particular. Many people, including critics, other poets, and biographers, have assumed that the poem contains a hidden death wish. They think the speaker is hinting, rather broadly, that he would like to commit suicide by walking out into the beautiful, dark, deep woods and letting himself freeze to death by lying down in the snow. Frost repeatedly denied this interpretation. He was mainly interested in the sounds and the imagery. Nevertheless, there were some critics, including biographer Jeffrey Meyers, who insisted that Frost did not understand his own poem.

Frost is remembered for many of his poems. Perhaps he was being too modest in apparently hoping that his "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" would keep him remembered, but it is certainly one of his best-known and most frequently anthologized poems. It is also a good representative of Frost's poetry, since it is about nature, simple, lyrical, and adheres to a strict pattern of rhyme and meter. (Frost once said: "Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.")

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Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

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