Robert Lee Frost

(March 26, 1874 � January 29, 1963) An American poet. Frost received four Pulitzer Prizes.

Although Robert Frost is associated with New England, he was born in San Francisco to Isabelle Moodie, of Scottish birth, and William Prescott Frost, Jr., a descendant of a Devonshire Frost who had sailed to New Hampshire in 1634. His father was a former teacher turned newspaper man, a hard drinker, a gambler, and a harsh disciplinarian, who fought to succeed in politics for as long as his health allowed. Frost lived in California until he was 11. After the death of his father in 1885, he moved with his mother and sister to eastern Massachusetts near his paternal grandparents. Frost's mother resumed teaching to support the family. He grew up a city boy and published his first poem in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He attended Dartmouth College where he was a member of the Theta Delta Chi fraternity, and from 1897 to 1899, Harvard University where he studied Philology but he did not complete the degree

In 1894 the New York Independent published Frost's poem "My Butterfly" and he had five poems privately printed. In 1895 he married a former schoolmate, Elinor White; they had six children. Frost worked as a teacher and continued to write and publish his poems in magazines. From 1897 to 1899 Frost studied at Harvard, but left without receiving a degree. He moved to Derry, New Hampshire, working there as a cobbler, farmer, and teacher at Pinkerton Academy and at the state normal school in Plymouth.

In 1912, at the age of 38, he sold the farm and used the money to take his family to England, where he could devote himself entirely to writing. He took a very large risk. His first book of poetry, A Boy's Will, was published the next year and was accepted by a London publisher and brought out in 1913, followed a year later by North of Boston. Both which gained international recognition. In England he made some crucial contacts including T.E. Hulme, Edward Thomas, a Welsh writer whom Frost persuaded to turn from prose to poetry, and Ezra Pound, who was the first American to write a "favorable" review of Frost's work. Frost returned to America in 1915 and launched a career of writing, teaching and lecturing. From 1916 to 1938, he was an English professor at Amherst College.

In 1920 Frost purchased a farm in South Shaftsbury, Vermont, near Middlebury College. His wife died in 1938 and he lost four of his children. Two of his daughters suffered mental breakdowns, and his son Carol, a frustrated poet and farmer, committed suicide. Frost also suffered from depression and continual self-doubt. After the death of his wife, Frost became strongly attracted to Kay Morrison, whom he employed as his secretary and adviser. Frost composed for her one of his finest love poems, "A Witness Tree."

He recited his work, "The Gift Outright", at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and represented the United States on several official missions. He also became known for poems that include an interplay of voices, such as "Death of the Hired Man". American schoolchildren often memorize his poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". Other highly acclaimed poems include "Mending Wall", "Birches", "After Apple Picking", "The Pasture", "Fire and Ice", "The Road Not Taken", and "Directive".

At the time of his death on January 29, 1963, Frost was considered a kind of unofficial poet laureate of the US. "I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world". Robert Frost was buried in the Old Bennington Cemetery, in Bennington, Vermont. Harvard's 1965 alumni directory indicates his having received an honorary degree. Frost's poetic and political conservatism caused him to lose favor with some literary critics, but his reputation as a major poet is secure. He unquestionably succeeded in realizing his life's ambition: to write "a few poems it will be hard to get rid of."