This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Love and a Question Home Burial Structure Stanzaic Form Couplet Tercet (Triplets) Quatrain Quintet .Sestet Octave Fixed Form Sonnet Blank Verse Continuous Form Design Mending Wall Storm Fear Mowing Birches After Apple-Picking The Silken Tent Out, Out Mending Wall The Secret Sits Acquainted with the Night Devotion My November Guest Spring Pools Nothing Gold Can Stay The Tuft of Flowers A Star in a Stoneboat Stopping by Woods The Road Not Taken The Freedom of the Moon Two Tramps in Mud Time A Minor Bird Provide, Provide Good Hours Bond and Free Closed for Good Love and a Question A Late Walk Brown's Descent The Witch of Coos
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 to him. 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 nature reaches 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 the right way. The artist, the poet, might be expected to be the most aware of such assurance. But it is really everybody's sanity to feel it and live by it. Fortunately, too, no forms are more engrossing, gratifying, comforting, staying than those lesser 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 or dramatic. Thus a poem can be described as a lyric written in couplets, quatrains or sestets (2, 4 or 6 line stanzas). There can be a narrative poem written in blank verse, continuous structure (Birches). There can even be a dramatic narrative which 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 single speaker about his feelings for a person, object, event or idea. This type poetry was originally sung accompanied by a lyre. 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 abaab Mowing 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 in quatrains. 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 falling action. 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 the rhymes. The meter is tetrameter. Note: The ballad is a narrative poem with stanzas of two or four lines and sometimes, a refrain. They are written in straight-forward verse, seldom with detail, but always with graphic simplicity and force. Ballads are generally written in ballad meter, i.e., alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, with the last words of the second 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 (2 or more people speaking) and narratives. The Death of the Hired Man is often called a dramatic narrative. Frost usually writes 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's dramatic 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 quatrain combines two couplets alternatively. The sonnet gives a little drama in several scenes to a lyric sentiment. There are three 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 and Dramatic, as noted above. Frost wrote in all of these forms. (Go back to Table) Stanzaic: A division of a poem made by arranging the lines into units separated by a space, usually of a corresponding number of lines and a recurrent pattern of meter and rhyme. A poem with such divisions is described 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 rarely Quatrains - 4 lines - Most commonly used by Frost Quintets - 5 lines - Used occasionally Sestets - 6 lines - Used occasionally Septet - 7 lines - Never used Octave - 8 lines - Used occasionally Definition of Quatrain Poetry Type A Quatrain Poetry Type or literary term is a stanza or poem of four lines. Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme. Lines 1 and 3 may or may not rhyme. Rhyming lines should have a similar number of syllables Fixed: A form of poetry in which the length and pattern are prescribed by previous usage or tradition, such as a sonnet. 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 lamb His name was Jesus Christ And God, not Joseph, was the ram But 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 alternating rhymes) followed by a detached rhymed couplet which is usually epigrammatic. (Go back to Table) In the Italian (or Petrarchan sonnet), the 14 lines are divided into an octave of two rhyme-sounds arranged 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 exactly following the rules of either form. Frost followed the rules and broke the rules. He demonstrated technical skill and freedom of his material. His sonnets include Into My Own, A Dream Pang, The Vantage Point, Acceptance, Once by the Pacific, Meeting and Passing, Putting in the Seed, The Oven Bird, Range-Finding, Acquainted with the Night, A Soldier, The Investment, The Birthplace, The Master Speed. Blank Verse. Unrhymed iambic pentameter. Frost wrote quite a bit of blank verse, which is not the same as free verse (tennis with the net down). Blank verse is metrical (Review Meter). 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 - ! - ! ! ! ! I like / to think / some boy's / been swing - / ing them
! ! ! ! - ! 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. His variations on that style keep the reader guessing and off guard. By combining tone with meter, 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 interrupted himself 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 metrics also mimic the wall with the accents coinciding with the meaning. The poetry of Robert Frost comes 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 sort of regeneration of nature as it came back to fill in what had been domesticated land. Frost's family wasn't exactly welloff, and he learned certain values and ideals by living in this New England, not quite the land of opportunity. When he grew up, Frost raised his family there, and also farmed for a while. He had no sure career besides the typical New England farming until he started to bring his New England values into his poetry and publish it. His first two volumes of poetry are especially expressive of his life in New England, but throughout all his poetry, it is evident that Robert Frost's New England background influenced the style of his writing, the themes in his poetry, and the topics of his poems. The style of his writing is very simplistic, using colloquial diction. Frost wrote dialogue in his poetry using natural speech patterns, with aspects in it recognizable as New England in their form and phrasing. His poetry was also very natural in its wording, using words that most people can understand and that make his poetry seem practical and ordinary. There is nothing complicated about the structure of Frost's poems; they seem to be mere translations of everyday events into poetry. Instead of using elaborate phrasings in the lines, his poems speak in a natural, easily comprehensible manner. This simple way of writing is an effect of living in New England, where Frost lived a relatively simple life. That way of life is brought into his poetry in his laconic speech, which allowed him to convey more elaborate 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 to New England because they can be seen as universal interpretations of common situations. Many people can relate to Frost's subjects because of their overall simplicity; the situations Frost portrays could essentially happen anywhere. However, the inspiration for these subjects came to Frost from living in New England, and the reactions of the people in his poems are often characteristic of those who live in New England. Frost's writing, simple though it may seem, is also formal in its verse. Frost was very strict in following the meter of his poems, as well as the general connections in content. To Frost, form was essential, and he balanced his rhymes in a controlled manner, the same way he controlled his portrayal of ideas. His rhyme scheme 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 poems often reflect self-restraint, with careful attention to reproduce the diction and rhythms of actual speech of New England farmers. There is a certain artistry to Frost's style as well, stemming from the effect of New England on Frost's sense of poetry. The language is often lyrical, blending thought and emotion with symbolic imagery in his New England speech. The greatness of Frost's poetry lies in his artistry in language and depiction of New England life, using delicately formed phrases of description. The artistry in Frost's poetry goes beyond the simple ways of life it portrays to bring them out with a certain mark of individuality. Frost brings out contrasting images regarding nature in New England, from the simple depiction of nature to the intrusion of man-made objects. The New England that Frost depicts is the regrowth of nature over the land after having been taken over by man; there is an image of nature reclaiming its property and rejecting the intrusions of man. Frost did not address the subject of war very much in his poetry, but he felt its effects and considered it a sin against nature, ruining its beautiful landscapes. More often, Frost considered the effects of civilization and its urbanization on nature. 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 Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year The conflicting images of nature and man-made objects consist of the woods and frozen lake against the expected farmhouse. The horse is used to man-made facilities and can't understand why they're stopping someplace where there's just pure, unbounded nature. The woods in which they pause are owned by someone who lives in the village closeby, and who apparently doesn't care for nature. The narrator knows he probably won't be seen because the owner will not venture out into his woods unless he has some practical purpose there; the owner can't appreciate nature for itself as there is a man-made fence between man and nature. The natural beauty of New England is also incomprehensible to mankind; there is a natural barrier between man and nature that prevents mankind from penetrating the mysteries of the natural world. In Frost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening," he mentions that "the woods are 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 into the woods very far, even
though there was lots of white snow on the ground, because the woods were dark, which suggests a certain incomprehensibility in nature. These New England settings were carried further in Frost's use of the countryside and rural New England. Frost wrote of New England's valleys, pastures, wildlife, and farms, conveying a sense of natural beauty in New England. However, there was also a certain bleakness, which Frost showed in the more pathetic characters in his poetry. Frost's background of social and economic uncertainty led him to show this side of New England as well, which gave his work a sense of transience and finality. Frost's background is also brought out in his attention to responsibility. In several of his poems, he brings out the idea of obligations and duties to be fulfilled. This conveys a sense of economic need as well, which Frost experienced early on in life. He was impressed by the fact that after hardships of this sort, the people of New England still had some life in them, and this can be seen in his poetry as well. Frost dealt with the topic of choices, that having been something he learned a lot about growing up in New England. In Frost's New England, people were very affected by life decisions, where they had to make hard decisions and deal with whatever consequences their choices might bring. He called this "Trial by Existence" in one of his poems, emphasizing the idea that nothing happens to us except what we choose. Frost's characters must consider their choices carefully and become aware that their course of action must fit with their life and that any decision could have lifealtering affects. They often do not realize, though, just how all-encompassing their choices are and at times only see the immediate effects of any decision they might make. Frost portrays his belief that choices have to be made, and that they are irrevocable and come with irrevocable consequences. His characters may be aware of the implications of choosing badly, but they know that the choice cannot be avoided, so when all is said and done, the fact that a choice has been made "has made all the difference". Frost also learned much about human nature through living in New England, especially his own nature. He saw man's condemnable qualities and sometimes wrote poems to sarcastically point out these human fallacies. He observed how "man runs roughshod over nature" by building over it and completely rejecting it, and Frost often rejected these qualities in his poems. He had a deep-rooted respect for nature and held that man is essentially a stranger in the world and can never adapt to nature. He hoped for a sort of truce between man and nature with mutual respect of boundaries and principles. In New England, Frost's hope was realized for the most part, as nature had free reign over inhabited land, showing a civilization reformed in regards to nature. In "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening," this is taken to another extreme when the horse seems to assume the human quality of impatience, giving his harness bells a shake, and the narrator wants to pause and appreciate nature for a moment. Often in Frost's poetry, man finds refreshment in a brief submission to the isolation of nature, something Frost experienced himself when living in New England. Thus we can see that New England life played a major role in Frost's writing, from his poetry's actual structure to the content and social commentary it contained. There is a certain simplicity in the way Frost writes, brought out in his subjects and his wording, as well as a contrasting formality in the way he structures the lines and the words within the lines of his poems. Frost's tone can range from steady and constrained to flowing and artistic, which brings a sort of controlled lyrical elegance to his poetry. This is especially seen in Frost's portrayal of nature, which he sees as enchanting and comfortably isolating. The intrusion of man-made objects into Frost's New England upsets him, and he comments in his poetry on the unappreciativeness of man. According to Frost, man should accept nature and its mysteries, respecting the beauty of the natural world. Frost's New England surroundings influenced these ideas especially because of the rural beauty he grew up in, but also because of the endurance of people who could not afford to reject nature, as it made up the very livelihood of New England farmers. Frost's experience in this aspect taught him about responsibility, and his lessons area apparent in his poems dealing with duties that must be upheld for financial and moral reasons. Choices and human nature both were a part of Frost's life in New England, where he learned the value of good decisions and the importance of the actual making of choices. Frost's New England is brought out in his poetry through all of these things, and it is hard not to see the deep-rooted influence that his life there had on Frost's poetry. Robert Frost's poem "A Soldier" is a fascinating combination of the English and Italian sonnet. It offers an insightful testimonial on the meaning of a soldier's duty. The rime scheme of Frost’s “A Soldier” is a variation on the English sonnet, ABBA CDDC EFFE GG; it can be sectioned into three stanzas and a rimed couplet, as the English sonnet is, or it can be divided into the octave and sestet, as is the Italian sonnet. The function of the octave presents a claim about the subject, while the sestet offers further explanation; therefore, the function of the Italian octave and sestet works in the sonnet. Yet if sectioned into quatrains and couplet, the sections function equally as smoothly. Octave: First and Second Quatrains The speaker begins his drama by likening metaphorically the “fallen soldier” to a lance that has been “hurled.” The lance is lying on the ground, and no one retrieves it. It, therefore, is allowed to gather “dew” and “rust.” But still the lance points to a target. The dead soldier, although gone, still represents the goal for which he died, as the lance still points to some direction as it lies still on the dirt. The speaker then draws the reader’s attention to those for whom the soldier has died, and claims, “If we who sight along it round the world, / See nothing worthy to have been its mark.” The speaker assumes that if is difficult for many citizens to understand the purpose of the death of soldier, so he is going to explain why that difficulty exists: “It is because like men we look too near, / Forgetting that as fitted to the sphere, / Our missiles always make too short an arc.” Many ordinary citizens cannot see the bigger picture in the cosmic scheme of things: they “look too near.” Using the same dramatic metaphor of the lance, the speaker evaluates the average citizen’s ability to grasp the life and
death issues that nations have to face. They throw their lances, and they can never throw them far enough. They look at the world through stunted lenses. Sestet: Third Quatrain and Couplet Continuing the lance hurling metaphor, the speaker dramatizes the shortness of imagination and vision by asserting, “They fall, they rip the grass, they intersect / The curve of earth, and striking, break their own.” The paltry imagination and lack of foresight make smug citizens think only in terms of selfish, immediate aims. They fail to realize that soldiers do their work out of a sense of duty and mission just as others make sacrifices in their professions. Soldiers are professionals, not merely pawns in a chess game of politicians, as the ignorant are fond of portraying them. In the couplet, the speaker makes an insightful observation that as the soul of the dying soldier leaves the body, it soars beyond any “target ever showed or shone.” The soul of the soldier who dies in service to his country is like a hurled lance that does not meet an impediment but continues into the spiritual sphere where it finds its true home. Desert Places of Robert Frost Robert Frost's 1934 poem, Desert Places, speaks on the loneliness and solitude that a person often feels, and relates this loneliness to nature. In this poem Frost uses snow much the same way that he uses desert to show how loneliness is a major part of human life for most all human beings. Frost uses snow and desert in the same way in this poem because they both seem to cover up the colors and the beauty of nature. The snow takes away the beautiful kaleidoscope of colors that nature has and the desert seems to kill every plant that is in it except for a select few. In both of these part of nature everything tends to look the same and is hostile to the life in nature that shows multitudes of colors. The reason that Frost uses these two aspects of nature to describe loneliness is because when a person is lonely they tend to also be a bit depressed and sad. When a person is depressed and sad they do not really care too much about the world and often do not try to see the beauty in nature because to them the beauty does not really matter. A snowcovered field and a desert have much the same characteristics in their ability to isolate a person. In this poem the author also uses animals and humans to show that humans have a harder time dealing with the world and a harder time being lonely. Animals do not have the ability to reason, they do not have too many more cares in the world other than to eat and sleep, and often do not have the same intimate relationships that humans have with one another. When it is cold, animals go into their homes and hibernate or to keep warm, they have no other worries than to stay warm. Simply put, animals have a simple life without the complexities of modern civilization. Humans have a harder time living in the world because humans have a far greater amount of things to worry about. Humans can reason and therefore they have made the world far more complex than it is for animals and have created a lot more difficulties that have to be dealt with. Also, a human has to worry about being lonely in the world whereas animals often are lonely hunters and the fact of loneliness seems not to bother them. The problem of loneliness seems to be only a human problem, but it is sort of ironic that the author uses nature, such as deserts and fields, which are homes of animals, to show that he is a lonely person sometimes. The tightly controlled form of this poem gives the poem sort of a trudging, or walking feel to show that no matter what happens the author will continue to walk along. The first three stanzas of the poem do not really relate the loneliness of nature to the speaker walking as much as the last stanza does. When the last stanza comes along the reader then finds out that the poem is for sure about the author's own solitude and loneliness. The trudging feel that is given to this poem first of all shows the author's depressed sort of state and secondly the feeling also lets the reader understand that life will go on. The speaker is strong enough to endure his depressed loneliness and will continue to endure life through and through. This poem is not a poem about giving in to the world but instead is a poem about continuing to live life no matter how hard it becomes.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.