During the mid-twentieth century, there was no poet more beloved in the United States than Robert Frost. Considered the unofficial poet laureate of the nation, Frost’s poems were more widely read than almost any other poet’s work, his poetry was part of every English course in America’s curriculum, and not surprisingly, his poetry was among the most familiar lines among most of America.
Robert Frost was born in 1874 in California to a journalist father, William Frost, and a former schoolteacher, Isabella. After his father’s death when he was an adolescent, Frost and his mother relocated to New England to live with family. He would remain a resident of New England most of his life.
Although his grandfather saw to it that Frost received an excellent education, he was an indifferent student, attending both Dartmouth and Harvard without earning a degree. He held a number of jobs to support himself, among them textile mill worker, cobbler, Latin teacher, and farmer.
Despite his various careers – plus marriage and children – Frost dedicated himself to his poetry. It was not, however, well-received in the early stages of his writing career. The Atlantic Monthly rejected his work on at least one occasion.
For a time, Frost and his family relocated to England. This proved fortuitous for his poetry; at nearly 40 years of age, his first poetry collection, A Boy’s Will was finally published, to international acclaim.
Despite his success in England, Frost returned again to New England, teaching, writing, and co-founding the Bread Loaf School of writing in Vermont. He continued to write and publish his poetry to eager audiences, gaining a reputation as one of America’s finest, most popular poets. He was honored by the U.S. Senate, the American Academy of Poets, and was a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal and the Edward MacDowell medal. He traveled throughout the world, sharing his poetry with distinguished leaders, considered an American treasure.
However, Frost’s success came along with disappointments. By the time of his death in 1963, he’d outlived his wife and four of his five children, several of whom suffered from mental health issues, and one of which committed suicide. The disappointments may have been great, at his death, Frost was considered one of the cornerstones of American poetry.
The popularity of Frost’s poetry has not dimmed in the years since his death. Among his most popular poems are:
The Road Not Taken
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening