February 1, 2016

Robert Frost

Leading 20th century American poet.
  • Full Name: Robert Frost
  • Birth Name: Robert Lee Frost
  • Birth: March 26, 1874
  • Place of Birth: San Francisco, California, USA
  • Death: January 29, 1963
  • Place of Death: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Cause of Death: Complications ensued from prostate surgery
  • Buried: Old Bennington Cemetery in Bennington, Vermont
  • Epitaph: “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”
  • Zodiac Sign: Aries
  • Nationality: American
  • Sexual Orientation: Straight
  • Father: William Prescott Frost, Jr. (1850-1885)
  • Mother: Isabelle Moodie (1844-1900)
  • Siblings: 1 Sister, Jeanie Florence Frost (1876-1929)
  • Spouse: Elinor Miriam White (1873–1938)
  • Number of Children: 6
- Son: Elliot Frost (1896–1904)
- Daughter: Lesley Frost Ballantine (1899–1983)
- Son: Carol (1902–1940)
- Daughter: Irma Frost (1903–1967)
- Daughter: Marjorie Frost (1905–1934)
- Daughter: Elinor Bettina Frost (1907-1907)
  • Education: Harvard University, Lawrence High School, Dartmouth College
  • Known for: his realistic depiction of rustic life in colloquial American speech
  • Criticised for: his incapability of grasping the predicament of modern man
  • Influences: William Wordsworth (1770 –1850), John Keats (1795 –1821), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 –1882), John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 –1892), James Russell Lowell (1819 – 1891), Emily Dickinson (1830 –1886), Edward Thomas (1878 – 1917), Thomas Hardy (1840 –1928), Ezra Pound (1885 –1972), Rupert Brooke (1887 – 1915), Robert Graves (1895 –1985)
  • Influenced: Robert Francis (1901–1987), Richard Wilbur (b. 1921), Maxine Kumin (1925 –2014), and Timothy Steele (b. 1948)


  • Pulitzer Prize, New Hampshire (1924)
  • Honorary degree, Yale University (1924)
  • Russell Loines Poetry Prize (1931)
  • Pulitzer Prize, Collected Poems (1931)
  • Honorary degree, Dartmouth College (1933)
  • Pulitzer Prize, A Further Range (1937)
  • Honorary degree, Harvard University (1937)
  • Gold Medal for Poetry, National Institute of Arts and Letters (1939)
  • Gold Medal, Poetry Society of America (1941)
  • Honorary degree, Princeton University (1941)
  • Pulitzer Prize, A Witness Tree (1943)
  • First Annual Poetry Award, Boston Arts Festival (1954)
  • Medal for Distinguished Service, Theodore Roosevelt Society (1954)
  • Honorary degree, Oxford University (1957)
  • Honorary degree, Cambridge University (1957)
  • Gold Medal for Distinguished Service, Poetry Society of America (1958)
  • Emerson-Thoreau Medal, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1958)
  • Medal for Achievements in the Arts, Signet Society, Harvard College (1958)
  • Congressional Gold Medal (1960)
  • Poet Laureate of Vermont (1961)
  • Edward MacDowell Medal (1962)
  • Bollingen Prize in Poetry (1963)


“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, The Road Not Taken

Major Themes

  • Nature
  • Human Tragedy
  • Man’s relationship to man
  • Rural Life
  • Alienation of the individual
  • Duty
  • Rationality versus Imagination
  • Youth and the Loss of Innocence

Major Works:

  • A Boy's Will (1913 U.K. edition, 1915 U.S. edition)
  • North of Boston (1914 U.K. edition, 1915 U.S. edition)
  • Mountain Interval (1916)
  • New Hampshire (1923)
  • West-running Brook (1928)
  • The Lovely Shall Be Choosers (1929)
  • Collected Poems (1930)
  • The Lone Striker (1933)
  • From Snow to Snow (1936)
  • A Further Range (1937)
  • Collected Poems (1939)
  • A Witness Tree (1942)
  • Come In, and Other Poems (1943)
  • A Masque of Reason (1945)
  • Steeple Bush (1947)
  • A Masque of Mercy (1947)
  • Hard Not to be King (1951)
  • In the Clearing (1962)

Did you know?

  • Frost’s father was an alcoholic.
  • His father died of tuberculosis when Frost was only 11 years old.
  • Frost’s mother died of cancer when he was 26 years old.
  • Frost and his family members such as, his mother, wife, younger sister, and daughter Irma suffered from mental illness.
  • His wife Elinor developed breast cancer in 1937 and died of heart failure in 1938.
  • Four of his six children died before him. His first child Elliot died in 1904 of cholera. His daughter Elinor Bettina died one day after her birth in 1907. His daughter Marjorie died in 1934 of puerperal fever after childbirth. His son Carol committed suicide in 1940.
  • Frost admitted his sister Jeanie to a mental hospital for treatment, but she eventually died in 1929.
  • Both Frost and his wife graduated as valedictorians from high school.
  • Frost thought of committing suicide after Elinor refused his first marriage proposal in 1894.
  • In 1895 Frost proposed to Elinor for the second time, which she could not refuse.
  • Besides being a poet, Frost also worked as a cobbler, editor of a newspaper, school teacher, and professor.
  • His wife Elinor was a major inspiration of his poetry.
  • Frost is a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry.
  • Frost’s poems were first published in England since none of the American publishers were interested on a new poet.
  • Frost’s first book of poems was A Boy’s Will (1913) which was published by the British publisher David Nutt.
  • When Frost returned to America in 1915, he received much acclaim for his North of Boston.
  • Even though Frost dominated the field of poetry in the mid-20th century, the number of poets influenced by him is very insignificant.
  • When he was 86, President John F. Kennedy invited Frost to read a poem at his inauguration. But due to poor eyesight and the blinding reflection of the sun he could not read the script he prepared and recited the 1941 poem The Gift Outright from his memory. He was the first poet to recite a poem at a Presidential inauguration.
  • His epitaph quotes the last line from his poem, The Lesson for Today (1942): "I had a lover's quarrel with the world."

Media Gallery:

Robert Frost

Robert Frost

Robert Frost

Robert Frost

Robert Frost

Robert Frost

John F. Kennedy awarding Frost the Congressional Gold Medal
John F. Kennedy awarding Frost the Congressional Gold Medal


“Robert Frost Biography.”Bio.com. 2016. Television Networks, LLC. 15 January 2016
< http://www.biography.com/people/robert-frost-20796091>.

“Robert Frost.”Wikipedia. 2016. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 January 2016
< https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Frost>.

“Robert Frost.” Shmoop. 2016. Shmoop University. 15 January 2016
< http://www.shmoop.com/robert-frost/depression-tragedy.html>.

“Robert Frost: 10 Interesting Facts about the Famous Poet.” Learnodo. 2015.
Learnodo Newtonic. 15 January 2016 < https://learnodo-newtonic.com/robert-frost-facts>.

“Robert Frost.” Encyclopedia.com. 2016. Encyclopedia.com. 15 January 2016
< http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Robert_Frost.aspx>.

NB: This article was last updated on January 08, 2018
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