Who was Robert Frost?

   Robert Frost (1874-1963) was an American poet, born in San Francisco. While he was still a boy, his family moved to New England, where he lived for many years. Frost attended college briefly at Dartmouth and Harvard and worked at several odd jobs, since his early verse brought him very little income. In his early 20's he married Elinor White (a girl he had known in high school), took a farm in New Hampshire, and began teaching school to supplement their income. In 1912 he moved to England with his family so that he could live more cheaply and concentrate on writing. English readers welcomed his first published volumes, A Boy's Will and North of Boston. The poems "Mending Wall" and "Death of the Hired Man" both appeared in North of Boston. When Frost returned to New Hampshire with his family in 1915, he found to his surprise and delight that he had finally won recognition as an American poet. His best known poem, the "Road Not Taken," appeared a year later.

   Many of Frost's poems were written as narratives, dramatic monologues, or conversations in the plain, rather tight-lipped vernacular of the New England farmer and reflected his habit of understatement, his shrewd humor, and his sense of irony. There is also a darker side to Frost's verse, which he himself expresses in the metaphor of the "indwelling spider." Terror and violence lurk beneath a restrained, conversational surface in such poems as "The Hill Wife" and "The Bonfire."

   Robert Frost was awarded the Pulitzer prize in poetry on four different occasions. Though he never finished college, he taught in several universities in the United States and also received 40 honorary degrees from both English and American universities. Frost continued to write poetry after the publication of his Complete Poems in 1949, and he also wrote two plays in blank verse. His projected work, The Great Misgiving, includes a number of his most recent poems. In 1958 Frost was appointed consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress.