The Titular, Circular, Cyclical and the Forlorn: Rescuing Robert Frost from Himself

Robert Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry.  He was an earthy icon and, in some eyes, an American shame, for the man could love only himself and not his children or his wife. I’m not sure if that’s a crime against himself, or his promises, but there is no denying the man was an original and he knew how to write and he knew what he was.

Marred by the mistake of genius, Robert Frost cared only for his poetry, and his legacy, and that’s why the new fascination with protecting Frost’s legacy on the page is so intriguing.

Continue reading → The Titular, Circular, Cyclical and the Forlorn: Rescuing Robert Frost from Himself

The Strong are Saying Nothing

Robert Frost is one of our greatest American minds — and the delivery method for sharing his genius was the poem.  On November 17, 2005, I wrote — Humility in Adoration — for Urban Semiotic, where I described the moment Mark Van Doren introduced Robert Frost to adoring fans at Columbia University in the City of New York:

The lesson of Coriolanus was echoed decades later by the genius American poet Robert Frost in 1950 when he was accepting an award at Columbia University. Frost whispered to his good friend — and fellow genius — Columbia Faculty member Mark Van Doren, that he didn’t think he deserved the award he was getting, but he felt it would be rude to go against the will of the people who wanted to honor and admire him.

Van Doren smiled, agreed, and introduced the great poet to a Columbia crowd who provided a thunderous standing ovation for Robert Frost. Mark Van Doren used that private discussion with Robert Frost to explain Coriolanus’ downfall in human terms his Shakespeare literary students could understand. The learning we must curry from Coriolanus and Robert Frost and Mark Van Doren is how we must all willingly accept praise and compliments from others without questioning intent or assuming there is a hidden purpose behind the kindness.

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One Day in Harvard Yard

by Marshall Jamison

At about ten years of age or so, I heard Robert Frost
recite his poetry aloud
for what, it seemed to me to be a most attentive
and respectful crowd
in Harvard Yard, a meeting place of those who
search for knowledge,
the brick-lined mecca that surrounds much of
Harvard College.
He read quickly without emphasis that might
have been revealing
and his words belied emotion which I thought
he must be feeling.

Continue reading → One Day in Harvard Yard