President John F. Kennedy
“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life, it goes on.”-Robert Frost
Robert was born on March 26, 1874; Frost spent his first 40 years as an unknown. He exploded on the scene after returning from England at the beginning of WWI.Robert was a guest at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Frost became a poetic force and the unofficial "poet laureate" of the United States and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes. He died of complications from prostate surgery on January 29, 1963 so, how did Robert Frost become a poet?
Robert spent the first 11 years of his childhood in San Francisco, California until his journalist father, William Prescott Frost Jr, died of tuberculosis. After William died,Robert´s mother moved him and his sister, Jeanie,to Lawrence,Massachusetts with the kids grandparents. Frost went to Lawrence High School and met the love of his life and future wife, Elinor White. Elinor was his co-valedictorian when they graduated in the year of 1892.
After high school, Frost attended Dartmouth College for several months, returning home and worked a slew of unfulfilling jobs.In 1894, he had his first poem, “My Butterfly:an Elegy,” published in “The Independent,” a weekly literary journal based in New York City. With all this success,Robert proposed to Elinor,who was attending St.Lawrence University, However she turned him down because she wanted to finish school first. Frost then decided to leave on a trip to Virginia, and, when he got back, he proposed again. By that time Elinor had graduated from college,she accepted. They got married on December 19, 1895, and had their first child in 1896 named Elliot.
In the beginning of 1897, Frost attended Harvard University, but had to drop out after two years due to health concerns. Robert went back to Lawrence to join his wife Elinor who was pregnant with their second child,Lesley(1899). In 1900, Frost moved with his wife and children to a farm in New Hampshire to a property Frost’s grandfather got for them. They attempted to make a life on it for 12 years. Though, it was a fruitful time in Robert’s writing; he was having some difficulties in his personal life.
The Frost’s first born son Elliot died of cholera in the year of 1900. After Elliot passed, Elinor gave birth to four more children Carol (1902), who commited suicide in 1940; Irma (1903), who later found out had amental illness; Marjorie (1905), she died in her late 20s after giving birth; and Elinor (1907) unfortunately died a few weeks after birth. During this time, Robert and Elinor tried several endeavors including poultry farming all which were unsuccessful.
In 1912, Elinor and Frost decided to sell the farm in New Hampshire and move the family to England where they hoped Robert could find more publishers willing to take a chance on a new poet. Within just a couple of months, Robert found a publisher who would print his first book of poems. At this time in life, Robert met two other poets who would affect his life significantly,Ezra Pound and Edward Thomas.
Pound and Thomas were the first to review his work in a favorable light,as well as provided significant encouragement. Robert credited Thomasś long walks over the English landscape as the inspiration for one of his most famous poems,”The Road Not Taken.” Apparently, Thomas´s indecision and regret, regarding what paths to take, inspired Frost's work. The time Frost spent in England was one of the most meaningful times in his life. Not long after World War One broke out in August 1914, Robert and Elinor were forced to go back to America.
When Robert got back home, his reputation had proceeded him. His new publisher,Henry Holt, would remain with him for the rest of his days writing poems. Had purchased all of the copies of “North of Boston,” and in 1916, he published Frost's “Mountain Interval,” a collection of other works that he created while in England, including a tribute to Thomas. Journals, such as the “Atlantic Monthly,” who had turned Frost down when he submitted work earlier, now came calling. Frost famously sent the “Atlantic,” the same poems that they had rejected before his stay in England.
In 1915, Elinor and Robert moved and settled down on a farm they bought in Franconia,New Hampshire. Robert then started a long career as a teacher for several colleges, reciting poetry to eager crowds. Frost taught at Dartmouth and the University of Michigan at various times, but his most significant association was with Amherst College, where he taught steadily during the period from 1916 to 1938, and where the main library is now named in his honor. For a period of more than 40 years, beginning in 1921, Frost also spent almost every summer and fall at Middlebury College, teaching English on it’s campus in Ripton, Vermont.
During Robert’s lifetime, he receive more than 40 honorary degrees, and, in 1924, he won his first out of four Pulitzer Prize, for his book “New Hampshire.” He would subsequently win Pulitzers for “Collected Poems”(1931), “A Further Range”(1937) and “A Witness Tree” (1943). Robert´s family was dealt with another tragic blow when Elinor died in 1938 when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1937 and having undergone surgery; she also had a long history of heart trouble, to which she ultimately succumbed. The same year as his wife's death, Frost left his teaching position at Amherst College.
In the late 1950s, Frost, along with Ernest Hemingway and T. S. Eliot, championed the release of his old acquaintance Ezra Pound, who was being held in a federal mental hospital for treason due to his involvement with fascists in Italy during World War II. Pound was released in 1958, after the indictments were dropped.
In 1960, Congress awarded Frost the Congressional Gold Medal. A year later, at the age of 86, Frost was honored when asked inauguration. His sight now failing, he was not able to see the words in the sunlight and substituted the reading of one of his poems, “The Gift Outright,” which he had committed to memory.
In 1962, Frost visited the Soviet Union on a goodwill tour. However, when he accidentally misrepresented a statement made by Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, following their meeting, he unwittingly undid much of the good intended by his visit.
On January 29, 1963, Frost died from complications related to prostate surgery. He was survived by two of his daughters, Lesley and Irma, and his ashes are interred in a family plot in Bennington, Vermont.d to write and recite a poem for President John F. Kennedy's