The best poems by Robert Frost
Any list of the top ten best poems by such a major poet as Robert Frost (1874-1963) is bound to inspire disagreement or, at least, discussion; but we thought we’d throw our literary cap in the ring and offer our own selection of Robert Frost’s greatest poems, along with a little bit about each poem. Do you agree with our recommendations? What should/shouldn’t be on this list, in your view?
‘Mending Wall’. One of Frost’s most famous poems, ‘Mending Wall’ is about the human race’s primitive urge to ‘mark its territory’ and our fondness for setting clear boundaries for our houses and gardens. Whilst Frost believes that such markers are a throwback to an earlier stage in mankind’s development, his neighbour believes that ‘Good fences make good neighbours.’
‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’. One of Frost’s best-loved poems if not the best-loved, ‘Stopping by Woods’ was inspired by a real event in Frost’s life: stopping by the woods on his way home, the poet despaired that he was poor and didn’t have enough money to provide for his family, but rather than give up he decided to soldier on and ‘choose life’ rather than the tempting escape offered by the woods. Read the rest of this entry
A summary of a much-misunderstood classic poem
‘The Road Not Taken’ is one of Robert Frost’s most famous poems. It appeared in his first collection, Mountain Interval, in 1916; indeed, ‘The Road Not Taken’ opens the volume. For this reason, it’s natural and understandable that many readers take the poem to be Frost’s statement of individualism as a poet: he will take ‘the road less travelled’. But when we analyse Frost’s poem more closely, we realise how inaccurate such a summary of the poem is. Frost himself, two years before his death, lamented the way readers and critics had misinterpreted the poem, which he called ‘tricky’. You can read ‘The Road Not Taken’ here.
Rather than offer a summary of ‘The Road Not Taken’, we’ll undertake a brief paraphrase of the poem’s meaning. ‘I came to a fork in the road in the yellow wood through which I was travelling, and wished I could have travelled both paths. But obviously that wasn’t an option, so I spent a long while standing there and deliberating which to choose. After spending a good while looking down one of the roads as far as I could see, I then took the other road, since it seemed just as nice. And it seemed to be preferable, perhaps, because it wasn’t as well-trodden as the other – its grass was less worn. Read the rest of this entry