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All About Robert Frost

All About Robert Frost

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Published by Alviano Prastio

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Published by: Alviano Prastio on Oct 15, 2009
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12/09/2012

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Three Main Groups
LyricMy November Guest Mowing A Late Wal NarrativeOut, Out Love and a Question Brown's DescentDramaticDeath of the Hired Man Home Burial The Witch of Coos
Structure
 Stanzaic Form Couplet The Secret Sits The Tuft of Flowers A Minor BirdTercet (Triplets)Acquainted with the Night A Star in a Stoneboat Provide, ProvideQuatrain Devotion Stopping by Woods Good HoursQuintet My November GuestThe Road Not Taken Bond and Free.Sestet Spring PoolsThe Freedom of the Moon Closed for GoodOctave Nothing Gold Can StayTwo Tramps in Mud Time Love and a Question Fixed Form Sonnet Design Mowing The Silken TentBlank Verse Mending Wall Birches Out, Out Continuous FormStorm Fear After Apple-Picking Mending Wall
Form
Frost's quote, "I'd sooner write free verse as play tennis with the net down," applies as well to form as it does to meter.For Frost, both form and meter were fundamental in the crafting of poetry. It's important to know how much it meant tohim. Frost wrote,"There is at least so much good in the world that it admits of form and the making of form. And not only admits of it, but calls for it. We people are thrust forward out of the suggestions of form in the rolling clouds of nature. In us naturereaches its height of form and through us exceeds itself. When in doubt there is always form for us to go on with.Anyone who has achieved the least form to be sure of it, is lost to the larger excruciations. I think it must stroke faith theright way. The artist, the poet, might be expected to be the most aware of such assurance. But it is really everybody'ssanity to feel it and live by it. Fortunately, too, no forms are more engrossing, gratifying, comforting, staying than thoselesser ones we throw off, like vortex rings of smoke, all our individual enterprise and needing nobody's cooperation; a basket, a letter, a garden, a room, an idea, a picture, a poem. For these we haven't to get a team together before we can play."
Form
falls into general categories which overlay the terms of structure. Poems are said to be
lyric, narrative ordramatic.
Thus a poem can be described as a lyric written in couplets, quatrains or sestets (2, 4 or 6 line stanzas). Therecan be a narrative poem written in blank verse, continuous structure (Birches). There can even be a dramatic narrativewhich has lyric overtones (Mending Wall). Frost wrote in all these forms.
Lyric
 poetry is usually a short poem expressing personal thoughts and feelings. It is meditative. It is spoken by a singlespeaker about his feelings for a person, object, event or idea. This type poetry was originally sung accompanied by alyre. Frost is primarily a lyric poet.Examples:My November Guest is a lyric poem written in 5 line stanzas (quintets). The meter is tetrameter, with a rhyming pattern abaabMowing is a lyrical sonnet with a very irregular rhyming pattern.A Late Walk is a ballad-style lyric (tetrameter alternating with trimeter) rhyming the 2nd and 4th lines inquatrains. The indentation sets off the rhymes. 
Narrative
 poetry tells a story revealed by a progression unique to itself. There is a rising action, a climax and a fallingaction.Examples:Out, Out is a narrative in blank verse written in a continuous structure. (No stanzas, no breaks)Love and a Question is a ballad (see below) written in 8 line stanzas (octaves)Brown's Descent is a humorous narrative rhyming the 2nd and 4th lines in quatrains. The indentation sets off therhymes. The meter is tetrameter. Note: The ballad is a narrative poem with stanzas of two or four lines and sometimes, a refrain. They are writtenin straight-forward verse, seldom with detail, but always with graphic simplicity and force. Ballads are generallywritten in ballad meter, i.e., alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, with the last words of thesecond and fourth lines rhyming. Other Ballads: A Line Storm Song, Wind and Window Flower.
Dramatic
 poems have speaking characters as in a little play. There can be monologues (1 person speaking), dialogs (2or more people speaking) and narratives. The Death of the Hired Man is often called a dramatic narrative. Frost usuallywrites these in blank verse. The speeches follow no stanzaic pattern, but the lines are metrical. Frost's second book 
 North of Boston
is most famous for his dramatic pieces. He patterned many of them after Virgil's Eclogues. Frost'sdramatic poems comprise some of his best praised work.
 
To give Form in poetry is to use organization, shapeliness, and fitness to the content of the poem. Form is structure.Frost believed that common verse forms are themselves metaphoric. A blank verse line lays down a direct line of image,thought or sentiment. The couplet contrasts, compares or makes parallel figures, ideas and feelings. The quatraincombines two couplets alternatively. The sonnet gives a little drama in several scenes to a lyric sentiment. There arethree types of form in terms of how the poem is laid out on paper:
Stanzaic, Fixed and Continuous.
Overlapping these forms, poetry falls into 3 main groups: Lyric, Narrative andDramatic, as noted above. Frost wrote in all of these forms. (Go back toTable)
Stanzaic:
A division of a poem made by arranging the lines into units separated by a space, usually of acorresponding number of lines and a recurrent pattern of meter and rhyme. A poem with such divisions isdescribed as having a stanzaic form. The division of lines can be:Couplets - 2 lines - Couplets must rhyme. Frost was very fond of them.Tercets - 3 lines - Used rarelyQuatrains - 4 lines - Most commonly used by FrostQuintets - 5 lines - Used occasionallySestets - 6 lines - Used occasionallySeptet - 7 lines - Never usedOctave - 8 lines - Used occasionally
Definition of Quatrain Poetry TypeA Quatrain Poetry Type or literary term is a 
 or poem of four lines. Lines 2 and4 must rhyme. Lines 1 and 3 may or may not rhyme. Rhyming lines should have asimilar number of syllablesFixed:
A form of poetry in which the length and pattern are prescribed by previous usage or tradition, such as asonnet. In English poetry, the sonnet is the primary fixed form. The limerick is also a fixed form. Frost never  published this limerick he wrote just for fun:Mary had a little lambHis name was Jesus ChristAnd God, not Joseph, was the ramBut Joseph took it nice.
The Sonnet
. A fixed form consisting of 14 lines of five-foot iambic pentameter having a rhyme scheme.In the English (or Shakespearean sonnet), the 14 lines are grouped in three quatrains (with six alternatingrhymes) followed by a detached rhymed couplet which is usually epigrammatic. (Go back toTable)In the Italian (or Petrarchan sonnet), the 14 lines are divided into an octave of two rhyme-soundsarranged abba abba and a sestet of two additional rhyme sounds which may be variously arranged.The octave presents a situation and the sestet a comment, or the octave an idea and the sestet an example, or the octave a question and the sestet an answer.Robert Frost wrote many sonnets, however most of them could be called irregular, not exactlyfollowing the rules of either form. Frost followed the rules and broke the rules. He demonstratedtechnical skill and freedom of his material. His sonnets include Into My Own, A Dream Pang, TheVantage Point, Acceptance, Once by the Pacific, Meeting and Passing, Putting in the Seed, The OvenBird, Range-Finding, Acquainted with the Night, A Soldier, The Investment, The Birthplace, TheMaster Speed.
Blank Verse.
Unrhymed iambic pentameter. Frost wrote quite a bit of blank verse, which is not the same asfree verse (tennis with the net down). Blank verse is metrical (ReviewMeter ). Using Birches as an example,we can see how structured it is:- ! - ! - ! - ! - !When I / see birch / es bend / to left / and right (5 feet, or 5 accents all iambic)- ! - ! - ! - ! - !A - gainst / the lines / of straight- / er dark- / er trees (ditto)- ! - ! - ! - ! - !I like / to think / some boy's / been swing - / ing them (ditto)- ! - ! - ! - ! - !But swing - / ing does- / n't bend / them down / to stay (ditto)Generally Frost lays in his first lines in the meter and form he wants to follow. Hisvariations on that style keep the reader guessing and off guard. By combining tone withmeter, the poem becomes easy and conversational. But regardless how tight his poetics are,Frost's intention is to "trip you into the boundless." (Table)
 
Continuous Form
The lines of the poem are written without formal groupings. The only breaks are contained by the meaning, which may be a series of analogies.Examples:Storm Fear - The loose iambic pentameter which establishes itself in the first four lines as the metrical pattern, is intermittently broken into nervous and jerky fragments, as though the speaker interruptedhimself to hold his breath, to listen. And the structural nervousness heightens the tension of meaning.After Apple-Picking - There are irregular rhymes and although the predominant meter is iambic pentameter, there are quite a few irregular lines.Mending Wall - Here the continuous pattern of the poem mimics the wall - all in one piece. The metricsalso mimic the wall with the accents coinciding with the meaning.Thepoetryof Robert Frostcomes mostly from his life experiences and the influence of living in New England. His family moved there when more people were moving out than in, and as he was growing up, he lived through a sortof regeneration of natureas it came back to fill in what had been domesticated land.Frost's family wasn't exactly well- off, and he learned certain values and ideals by living in thisNew England, not quite the land of opportunity. When hegrew up,Frostraised his family there, and also farmed for a while. He had no sure career besides the typical New Englandfarming until he started to bring his New Englandvalues into his poetryand publish it. His first two volumes of   poetryare especially expressive of his life in New England,but throughout all hispoetry, it is evident thatRobert Frost's  New England background influenced the style of his writing, the themes in hispoetry, and the topics of his poems. The style of his writing is very simplistic, using colloquial diction.Frostwrote dialogue in hispoetryusing natural speech patterns, with aspects in it recognizable as New Englandin their form and phrasing. His poetrywas also very natural in its wording, using words that most people can understand and that make his poetryseem practical andordinary. There is nothing complicated about the structure of Frost'spoems; they seem to be mere translations of  everyday events intopoetry. Instead of using elaborate phrasings in the lines, his poemsspeak in a natural, easily comprehensible manner. This simple way of writing is an effect of living inNew England,whereFrostlived a relatively simple life. That way of life is brought into his poetryin his laconic speech, which allowed him to convey moreelaborate ideas and thoughts without stating them outrightly.The subjects of Frost's writing are also simple, a reflection of his life in New England. He wrote of woods,  birds, and other parts of a simple life in New England. His works, however, are not only applicable toNew England   because they can be seen as universal interpretations of common situations. Many people can relate toFrost's subjects because of their overall simplicity; the situationsFrostportrays could essentially happen anywhere. However, theinspiration for these subjects came toFrostfrom living inNew England, and the reactions of the people in hispoemsare often characteristic of those who live in New England.Frost's writing, simple though it may seem, is also formal in its verse.Frostwas very strict in following themeter of hispoems, as well as the general connections in content. To Frost, form was essential, and he balanced hisrhymes in a controlled manner, the same way he controlled his portrayal of ideas. Hisrhymescheme is often so blatant that it seems he must have carefully planned it out to make each line work with every other; one is able to discern the pattern of a poem after having read some because of the adherence to form.The tone of Frost's writing is also very formal; he emphasizes, in his own words, speech rhythms and the "sound of sense". His poemsoften reflect self-restraint, with careful attention to reproduce the diction and rhythms of actualspeech of New Englandfarmers.There is a certain artistry toFrost's style as well, stemming from the effect of  New EnglandonFrost's sense of   poetry.The language is often lyrical, blending thought and emotion with symbolic imagery in his New Englandspeech. The greatness of Frost'spoetrylies in his artistry in language and depiction of  New Englandlife, using delicately formed  phrases of description. The artistry inFrost'spoetrygoes beyond the simple ways of life it portrays to bring them out with a certain mark of individuality.Frost brings out contrasting images regardingnatureinNew England, from the simple depiction of natureto the intrusion of man-made objects. The New EnglandthatFrostdepicts is the regrowth of natureover the land after having  been taken over by man; there is an image of naturereclaiming its property and rejecting the intrusions of man.Frostdid not address the subject of war very much in his poetry,but he felt its effects and considered it a sin againstnature, ruining its beautiful landscapes. More often,Frostconsidered the effects of civilization and its urbanization onnature. In "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening,"Frost presents many contrasting images, a few of which occur in the second stanza:My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farmhouse near Betweenthe woodsand frozen lakeThe darkest evening of the year The conflicting images of natureand man-made objects consist of the woodsand frozen lake against the expected farmhouse. The horse is used to man-made facilities and can't understand why they're stopping someplacewhere there's just pure, unboundednature.The woods in which they pause are owned by someone who lives in thevillage closeby, and who apparently doesn't care for nature. The narrator knows he probably won't be seen because theowner will not venture out into his woods unless he has some practical purpose there; the owner can't appreciatenature for itself as there is a man-made fence between man andnature.The natural beauty of  New Englandis also incomprehensible to mankind; there is a natural barrier betweenman andnaturethat prevents mankind from penetrating the mysteries of the natural world. InFrost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening," he mentions that "the woodsare lovely, dark and deep," which shows that he believed there is a connection between natural beauty and mystery. The narrator was not able to see intothe woodsvery far, even

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