Until recently, if you asked someone what they knew about Robert Frost, they might describe seeing him on television, his white hair ruffled by the wind at JFK’s inauguration. Or they might recall a poem of his they had learned in school. And to Middlebury professor of English John Elder, that’s a good indication of Frost’s legacy.
Frost’s poems appear simple and accessible through his use of natural imagery and every-day speech. But, they are complex in both structure and meaning. Likewise, Frost’s life – on the surface – appeared to be that of a fairly simple man. in fact, his life – as a poet, farmer and teacher – was full of conflict and contradiction.
Robert Frost’s poetry is all about sense of place. He spent five years and many summers in Franconia, New Hampshire. It’s one place where the poet’s family, including his wife Elinor, was entirely happy, and that helped create a fruitful period.
One of Robert Frost’s books of poetry is titled North of Boston. And just as his poetry is full of references to the region, so too is the region full of reminders of his life here. Author Natalie Bober and Frost’s grandaughter Robin Fraser Hudnut talk of his family life in New England.
We learn more about Robert Frost’s life and writings in Vermont and New Hampshire. Then we visit with bestselling Barre author Jennifer McMahon, and we travel to Greensboro, where writer Wallace Stegner summered for more than 50 years.
It’s the time of year for hoeing one’s garden. Commentator and Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council Peter Gilbert tells us about a Robert Frost poem that seems to be about hoeing a garden and a roadside visit with a friend. But it may, in fact, set forth the terms of a poetic rivalry between two literary titans.
Robert Frost, the Vermont poet known worldwide, has been dead more than 40 years. But scholars recently found some fascinating lectures and discussions Frost had with Dartmouth students. Commentator Tom Slayton, veteran journalist and editor-emeritus of Vermont Life magazine, was especially interested, and has some reflections of his own on the Frost legacy.
There’s been much discussion in Vermont about the possible effects of global warming on Vermont’s forests – dulling our brilliant autumn colors and harming or destroying the maple syrup industry. As Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council, commentator Peter Gilbert often finds in literature and history connections that resonate with current concerns. Recently he read in a poem by Robert Frost about another risk of warmer winters.