March 26 ~† Poem Begins Cambridge Companion to Frost

"A poem begins with a lump in the throat." ~ Robert Frost

Robert Frost Reads His Poetry (Cassette)

A poet who inspired with the unforgettable beauty of his words, Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963) was born on this day in San Francisco, California and moved to New England after his father's death in 1885.

"All the funís in how you say a thing," believed Frost who sold his first poem, My Butterfly, in 1894. The writer tried farming and teaching until he was 39 when he published his first volume of poetry, A Boy's Will.

His view of life was inspired by four beliefs: self-belief, love-belief, art-belief, and God-belief. He carved his words in celebration of these tenants. "Earth's the right place for love: I don't know where it's likely to go better," he said.

America's unofficial poet laureate once called himself "an awakener," won four Pulitzer Prizes (1924, 1931, 1937, 1943), and recited two works at John F. Kennedy's 1961 Presidential inauguration.

"Any work of art must first of all tell a story," Frost said.

His cherished lines are easy-to-read and understand and continue to be paraphrased and quoted: "Something there is that doesn't love a wall, that wants it down" or "Good fences make good neighbors." (Mending Wall, 1915); "For this is love and nothing else is love," (A Prayer in Spring, 1915). And a personal favorite:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
     I took the one less traveled by,
     And that has made all the difference.

(The Road Not Taken, 1916)

More FROST Quotations

Robert FrostA poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.