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Perhaps the best way to assess the impact of Robert Frost is to look at his reception – in other words, the ways in which his poetry has circulated and the types of audience it has attained. Roland Barthes famously said “literature is what gets taught”, meaning that the literary canon and the works that most influence the culture of a given society are those taught in schools. By that measure, Frost’s poetry has a significant impact on North American society, as his works are standard in secondary and tertiary curricula, and on standardized exams (AP literature, GRE literature).
A few other indications of his broad influence are that his four Pulitzer prizes are the largest number awarded to any individual poet in the history of the prize. He also wrote a poem for John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, which he performed from memory after stumbling and dropping his copy.
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