Wednesday, July 31, 2013

discussion of Poems July 22

David kindly moderated the discussion on July 22 -- the first and last poems in Robert Frost's first book --
so I am sorry to have missed the discussion, as they enclose the issues of Frost's first book of poems--one he was already moving beyond at the time he published it.

From "The Art of Robert Frost" by Tim Kendall.

Selection from A Boy’s Will, Robert Frost (published in 1913 – title inspired by the Longfellow poem, "My Lost Youth".) The list of poems on the contents page was accompanied by explanatory glosses –
Into My Own – Robert Frost (First poem in A Boy’s Will) has this gloss in the introduction:
"The youth is persuaded that he will be rather more than less himself for having foresworn the world."(Written at age 35, he would long have given up hope of being described as a “youth” p. 17 Kendall).
The last poem, “Reluctance” was not glossed.

Kendall* selects these poems from "A Boy's Will"

Ghost House (He is happy in society of his choosing)
Rose Pogonias (He is no dissenter from the ritualism of nature)
Mowing (He takes up life simply with the small tasks.)(Frost considers this the most impressive poem in this first book. Also the most enigmatic. His first “Talk Song”
The Trial by Existence (He resolves) (to know definitely what he thinks about the soul.)

Kendall: "Into my Own" -- establishes some rules -- and one of the great subjects Frost addresses: fear.
In the sonnet are five "sturdy" negations "(not to mention the hedging use of the conditional) as if to make emphatically clear that no action will be required. Even the "trees/breeze" rhyme functions to reverse usual expectations: the breeze this time, 'scarcely' ruffles the trees. ... it would be a journey of confirmation, not discovery."

Reluctance, as final poem, remained one of Frost's favorites. Although ending the book, the poem ends on a question, without a firm sense of resolution. "Reluctance is a strange augury of Frost's later achievement, because the continuing attractions of a peripatetic solitude run counter to the inspiration which his poetry will learn to find at home and among people."

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