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Biography of Robert Frost

Madhavi Ghare Jul 22, 2020
Robert Frost, the mere mention of his name is enough to get poetry lovers and enthusiasts excited. This piece of work sheds light on his life and achievements in becoming a renowned and remembered poet even today.
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
― Robert Frost
Robert Frost was an American poet whose contributions to the world of literature are still valuable. His works are read and quoted even today. He is greatly recognized for his unbiased and realistic depictions of rural life in most of his works.
He was honored with many awards during his lifetime, with the most important being the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, which he was awarded four times. He became a great poetic force and inspired many aspiring writers and poets. This post walks you through the journey of his life and achievements.

Early Life

Robert Lee Frost was born on the March 26, 1874 in San Francisco to William Prescott Frost Jr. and Isabelle Moodie. His father was a teacher and later became an editor of the San Fancisco Evening Bulletin. He also took part in political activities in a casual way. He was a very strict man, and loved to drink and gamble.
When Robert's father died in May 5, 1885, he moved to Massachusetts to live with his mother and sister. He graduated from Lawrence High School in 1892, and attended Dartmouth College for a semester. He went back home to teach and did several other odd jobs including delivering newspapers.

Education and Achievements

In 1894, he sold his first poem, "My Butterfly. An Elegy" for USD 15 to The New York Independent. Proud of his achievement, he proposed to Elinor Miriam White, his high school sweetheart. She refused, wanting to wait till they finished their education.
Disappointed and suspecting that there was another man in her life, he went away to the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia. When he came back later that year, he proposed to her again. This time, she accepted. They were married on December 19, 1895, and had their first child in 1896.
Till 1897, they taught together in school. Then Robert moved to studying in Harvard University. He stayed there for two years, but had to return due to his ill health and because his wife was having their second child, Lesley, who suffered from mental illness.
His grandfather gave them a farm at Derry, in New Hampshire before dying. They settled down on the farm, and stayed and worked there for nine years. That is where he wrote most of his famous works. However, to support his family, he had to take up several teaching jobs across the country.
In 1904, their eldest son Elliot, died of cholera. They had four more children together, Carol (1902); Irma (1903), who also later developed mental illness; Marjorie (1905); and Elinor Bettina (1907), who died just few weeks after she was born due to some complications during birth.
In 1912, Robert Frost and his family sailed to Glasgow and settled down in Beaconsfield near London. The next year, he published his first book of poems titled A Boys Will. It was at this time that he met Ezra Pound and Edward Thomas, who were first to review his works and affected his life in a significant way.
In 1915, he returned to America and settled down in Franconia, New Hampshire where he bought a farm. He then began teaching, lecturing, and writing. From 1916 to 1938, he was the professor of English at the Amherst University. He also taught at the Bread Loaf School of English of the Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont.
In 1937, Elinor developed breast cancer and also had heart problems throughout her life. She died of heart failure in 1938.
In 1924, he won the Pulitzer Prize, the first out of four, for his book, New Hampshire: A Poem with Notes and Grace Notes. He won again for Collected Poems, in 1931, A Further Range, in 1937, and A Witness Tree, in 1943. In 1960, he was presented with the United States Congressional Gold Medal for his collection of poems.
At the age of 86 in 1961, Frost was honored when he was asked to read his famous poem, The Gift Outright" at the inauguration function of President John F. Kennedy.
On January 29, 1963, he died because of complications in prostate surgery in Boston. He was buried in the Old Bennington Cemetery in Vermont. His gravestone is etched with the last line from his poem, The Lesson for Today, which reads, "I had a lover's quarell with the world." He was survived by his two daughters, Lesley and Irma.
Robert Forst's poems gave a human voice to art. At first glance, they appear to be simple, but upon deeper investigation are explorations of the philosophies of mankind in depth. Although a journey with lot of ups and downs, his works will be remembered for centuries to come.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.