A poem by Robert Frost, published in The Atlantic in 1941
ROBERT FROST, reciting his poems and commenting on poetry in general, has been the high point of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference since its inception at Middlebury College. Among those who were invited to attend last summer was Mrs. Elsie Masterson, the author of OFF MY TOES, who look stenographic notes. After an introduction by John Ciardi, the director of the conference, this is what Mr. Frost said.
It was in 1912 that England first recognized and applauded the poetry of ROBERT FROST.Last spring — forty-five years later —he went back for a reunion and an ovation such as England has never accorded to any other American poet.
ROBERT FROST is the most distinguished living American poet. He was born in San Francisco, where his father, a New Englander with strong sympathies for the South, named him after Robert Lee. His mother was a teacher, and after her husband’s death she and young Robert moved back to Lawrence, Massachusetts, where he was graduated from the high school. He studied for a time at Dartmouth and at Harvard; he worked in a Lawrence mill, as a schoolteacher, in a shoe factory, as a small-town editor, and finally as a farmer. But his inner dedication was to poetry, and in England in 1912 his first book of poems, A Boy’s Will, won immediate recognition for its fresh, quizzical American character. In his poems he speaks for the country at large; for three decades, he has talked and read to college students, and these remarks from his Notebooks show the glint of his philosophy.
ROBERT FROST,who has four times been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, seems fated to keep on till he has pretty well covered New England, its stone walls, birches, belilacked cellar holes, its characters and weather. In this Masque of Mercy, as in his last year’s Masque of Reason, he pays his respects to the Bible. The two are intended to be brought into juxtaposition in the future under the title Two New England Biblicala.