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This author once said “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be a boss and work 12 hours a day.” Though he delivered newspapers and was a cobbler, farmer and the light bulb filament changer in a factory, he always felt his true calling was as a poet. He also worked as a teacher, and won four Pulitzer prizes for poetry.

He is renowned for his ability to capture rural life and colloquial language. Who is this rural poet, regarded as one of the most famous American authors? We’ll find out in a moment on:

Biography Out Loud

Robert Frost’s epitaph quotes a line from one of his poems: "I had a lover's quarrel with the world." Best known for his poem “The Road Not Taken”, the lines most often cited from this poem include “two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

He sold his first poem “My Butterfly: An Elegy”, at the age of 20 for fifteen dollars. This early success caused him to propose to Elinor. She refused this first proposal, but later agreed to marriage. They were in England when World War I broke out, and Robert Frost then returned with his family to what would be the family homestead. Frost met Ezra Pound while in England. Pound helped promote Robert Frost’s poetry by reviewing his first book of poetry, but their friendship waned in later years. Frost said of life, “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on.”

His father died when he was 11, his mother when he was 26, and he also had to commit his sister to an institution. He and his wife had six children, but was only survived by two daughters. He buried his wife in 1938. Though faced with much tragedy in his life, he said, “Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.” He also said, “The best way out is always through.”

He taught later in his life at the University of Michigan and received more than 40 honorary degrees in his lifetime. Of education he once said, “Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper.”

Robert Frost performed a reading of his poetry at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy at the age of eighty-six. Frost enjoyed reading his works, and once said, “I look at a poem as a performance.” Of Robert Frost, President Kennedy said, "He has bequeathed his nation a body of imperishable verse from which Americans will forever gain joy and understanding."

His use of common language to communicate in poetry makes Frost one of the most famous American poets. His wit has also been frequently quoted. He once said, “A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”

He worked on various farms his entire life, commenting he had no regular writing schedule. he said, “I don’t have hours; I don’t work at it, you know. I’m not a farmer, that’s no pose of mine. But I have farmed some, and I putter around. And I walk and live with other people. Like to talk a lot.”

Though his life was checkered with loss, he once said, “I never knew how many disadvantages anyone needed to get anywhere in the world. No psychology will ever tell you who needs a whip and who needs a spur to win races.”

When asked once about the creative process, Robert Frost said, “It’s just the same as when you feel a joke coming. You see somebody coming down the street that you’re accustomed to abuse, and feel it rising in you, something to say as you pass each other. Coming over him the same way. And where do these thoughts come from?”

In 1942, Robert Frost received his fourth Pulitzer prize for his book “A Winter Tree” He is the first person to win four Pulitzer prizes. He also once had patchwork quilts made from the academic hoods he had received with his honorary degrees.

In a memorable couplet, Frost once said, “It’s from their having stood contrasted, That good and bad so long have lasted.”

Frost was born in 1874, but maintained his entire life he was born in 1875. His friends threw a 50th birthday party for him as he turned fifty-one, and he was honored by the US Senate for his 75th birthday, although he was seventy-six. Robert Frost, one of the most accomplished American poets, died in 1963.

He once quipped, “Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”


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Robert Frost

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