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A-level English - Poetry of Robert Frost: Poems/Analysis

A guide to resources on the poetry of Robert Frost for your A-level English topic - compiled by your librarians.

The Road not Taken

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
 

Robert Frost
Mountain Interval
1916

A Considerable Speck

A Considerable Speck

A speck that would have been beneath my sight
On any but a paper sheet so white
Set off across what I had written there.
And I had idly poised my pen in air
To stop it with a period of ink
When something strange about it made me think,
This was no dust speck by my breathing blown,
But unmistakably a living mite
With inclinations it could call its own.
It paused as with suspicion of my pen,
And then came racing wildly on again
To where my manuscript was not yet dry;
Then paused again and either drank or smelt--
With loathing, for again it turned to fly.
Plainly with an intelligence I dealt.
It seemed too tiny to have room for feet,
Yet must have had a set of them complete
To express how much it didn't want to die.
It ran with terror and with cunning crept.
It faltered: I could see it hesitate;
Then in the middle of the open sheet
Cower down in desperation to accept
Whatever I accorded it of fate.
I have none of the tenderer-than-thou
Collectivistic regimenting love
With which the modern world is being swept.
But this poor microscopic item now!
Since it was nothing I knew evil of
I let it lie there till I hope it slept.

I have a mind myself and recognize
Mind when I meet with it in any guise
No one can know how glad I am to find
On any sheet the least display of mind.

Robert Frost

Frost's "Road" and "Woods" Redux

Much of the recent talk about "The Road NotTaken," Robert Frost's famous poem of 1916,centers on whether the speaker's choice of road really makes "all the difference." The going view is not just that it doesn't, but that it couldn't.

Dan Brown, Frost's "Road" and "Woods" Redux

Source : The New Criterion, April 2007

Anxiety, Fear and Form

This essay argues that Robert Frost's poems enact a a poetic and psychic process of of displacing and managing generalized anxiety through converting it into object-specific fear. Click HERE to read An Old Man's Winter Night from PoemHunter

Hinrichsen, L 2008, A Defensive Eye: Anxiety, Fear and Form in the Poetry of Robert Frost,

Source : Journal Of Modern Literature, 31, 3, p. 44, Advanced Placement Source, EBSCOhost

Never again would birds songs be the same!

“Never Again Would Birds’ Song Be the Same,” one of Robert Frost’s most eloquent Shakespearean sonnets, functions as a Midrash (the Hebrew 
word for “investigation”), a creative retelling of the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis that expands on but does not alter the text’s essential details. Click HERE to read the poem...
 
Wargacki, JP 2008, Never Again Would Birds' Song Be The Same:1 Robert Frost's Midrashic Shakespearean Sonnet
 
Source : Explicator, 66, 3, p. 160, Advanced Placement Source, EBSCOhost
 

A Promethean Frost - Kitty Hawk

The poem "Kitty Hawk" recounts past and present visits by the poet to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  

The reviewer states - "It is an unusual piece in many respects: one of Frost's longest poems; one of the dozen or so most important pieces from the last two volumes" . 

Read the poem HERE

Author : Bagby, GF 

Source :  1992, Twentieth Century Literature, 38, 1, p. 1, Advanced Placement Source, EBSCOhost

Design

Design

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth --
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches' broth --
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?--

If design govern in a thing so small.

Robert Frost

In “Design,” an observation in nature is a source for inquiry into one of the most popular philosophical arguments for the existence of a traditional God: thje argument from design.

“Design” begins with a scene in nature and ends with reflection in the form of a series of questions. These questions are what have allowed for the seeming wiggle room in the design debate surrounding the poem. 

By pointing to Frost’s subtle and intricate designer-poet methodology, this article argues that the intricate logic of Frost’s “Design” conveys a message that becomes Frost’s DESIGN apparent when read closely.

Authors : Deirdre Fagan, 2010

Source : Explicator, 68, 1, p. 48-50, 2010, Advanced Placement Source, EBSCOhost

Human values in the poetry of Robert Frost

Robert  Frost has always presented something of a puzzle for literary critics. Critics are on the whole happier with poets they can "do something" for or to. But what to do about a writer who warns readers in his talk and his verse that he is against "thoroughness" of the systematic intellect and very much in favor of the "instinctive thoroughness" of the woodchuck? Like Yeats he prefers the "crooked straightness" of the butterfly to thought's "gloomy bird of prey"

Review by: Reuben A. Brower

Source : The New England Quarterly, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Jun., 1961), pp. 243-252