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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The poet Robert Frost was born in 1874 in San Francisco, where his parents had moved from Pennsylvania soon after their marriage. After Frost's father died from tuberculosis, Frost moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts with his mother and his younger sister, Jeanie. He attended college in the East, and following his marriage, he and his wife made a failed attempt at farming in New Hampshire. They then moved to England, where Frost met the British poets Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. Frost established a close friendship with Thomas, who wrote perceptive reviews of Frost's works and with whom he went on long walks. Thomas recognized the originality and the success of Frost's experiments with vernacular speech and its cadences—what Frost called "the sound of sense."

Frost is a poet whose work appeals to serious students of poetry as well as to a wider audience because his poems seem both homespun, with their ordinary diction, yet sophisticated in their poetic techniques. The poet Daniel Hoffman describes Frost's early poetry as "the Puritan ethic turned astonishingly lyrical and enabled to say out loud the sources of its own delight in the world." 

On poetry, Frost made this comment: “The ear does it. The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.”

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robert Frost was a poet who is associated with the landscape and vernacular of New England. Born in San Francisco in 1874, he moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts, when he was 11, following the death of his father from tuberculosis. After attending, but not graduating from, Dartmouth and Harvard, he worked as a cobbler and editor before turning his hand to poetry. By the 1920s, he had become a celebrated poet, having published several collections and having won four Pulitzer Prizes. From 1958 to 1959, he was the Poet Laureate of the United States. While his poems, such as "The Road Not Taken," are associated with the landscape of New England, they deal with larger ideas, such as how one decides on a path and recalls the past. Frost read a poem at John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961, and he died in Boston in 1963.

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