Robert Frost is one of the most celebrated American poets of the twentieth century. He distinguished himself from his peers with his use of meter and rhyme to create complex, elegant works. Before achieving literary fame, however, Frost was an ordinary man. His journey to greatness is an inspiring one that shows that with hard work and dedication, anyone can make their dreams come true.
Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874, the son of a journalist and teacher. His family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts when he was eleven, where he started writing poetry in the eighth grade. He later attended Dartmouth College and then Harvard University, but did not finish either since he was financially unable. In 1895, he moved with his family to a farm in New Hampshire and began writing in earnest.
Frost began to find some small successes soon after moving to New England, publishing some of his work in local newspapers and journals. It was not until 1912, however, that he achieved acclaim. That year, his poem “My Butterfly: An Elegy” won the Independent’s Prize for lyric poetry. This poem was re-published in several magazines, bringing Frost national attention for the first time.
Frost continued publishing poems in a variety of newspapers and periodicals, and in 1915 he published a collection of poems titled North of Boston. This collection was well-received, and helped cement Frost’s place in the literary canon. His work was embraced by both ordinary readers and literary critics, many of whom hailed him as one of the greatest American poets of his time.
Frost’s popularity grew over the years, and in the 1920s he was the subject of several biographies and critical studies. In 1924, he won his first Pulitzer Prize for his poem “New Hampshire”. In time, he would win it four more times, making him the most decorated American poet ever. Though his work is now more than a century old, it remains relevant and powerful.
Creating A Publishing Platform
Before he could become famous, however, Frost had to create a platform for himself. At the time, most authors relied on publishers and editors to bring their work to the public. Frost took a different approach, relying on his own charm, wit and intellect to create a broad network of supporters.
He excelled at convincing editors, faculty and prominent literary figures to read his work. These people, in turn, wrote articles that praised Frost’s work, which furthered his reputation. Frost also wrote reviews and critiques of other authors’ work, cementing him as an authoritative voice.
Frost also kept a high profile by delivering lectures and public readings of his works. He stunned audiences with his powerful style and emotional intensity, and often received standing ovations after readings. This public image enabled him to become the “voice of his generation,” and earned him the admiration of many.
In addition to writing and lecturing, Frost also actively sought out places of publication. He established an extensive network of connections and patrons, which he leveraged to have his work accepted in many major newspapers and journals. He was also a frequent contributor to Poetry magazine, which enabled him to reach a wide audience.
Debut Of “The Road Not Taken”
Frost’s reputation reached its peak with the debut of his most famous poem, “The Road Not Taken”, in 1916. The poem quickly became a favorite of both readers and literary critics. Its subtle, evocative language, along with its themes of individualism and self-discovery, made it an instant classic.
Frost took full advantage of the poem’s popularity, often reading it at various literary engagements and gatherings. Due to its timeless themes, the poem is still widely read and analyzed today, and has become an enduring symbol of the human struggle to find meaning in life.
The poem also helped launch Frost’s career as a public figure. He was soon invited to universities and public events all over the country, inspiring large crowds with his readings. On several occasions, he was asked to give talks about his poetry, and he often appeared on the covers of prominent magazines. His visibility and prominence only increased over the years.
Gaining International Acclaim
Frost’s work also gained recognition overseas. In 1913, an English publisher released a volume of his work, furthering his reach and influence. Soon after, Frost was invited to visit London and lecture at Oxford. The experience left Frost feeling humbled and inspired, and he would draw on his memories of England for some of his later works.
Frost also won the admiration of many influential figures. During his London trip, he was welcomed with a banquet in his honor, and chatted with British luminaries such as George Bernard Shaw and Thomas Hardy. When he returned to the United States, he often entertained artists, musicians and authors at his home. His friends included novelist Sinclair Lewis and poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.
On the international stage, Frost’s work was also celebrated. He won numerous honors, including the coveted Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1947. He also made history when he was invited to serve as a cultural ambassador to the Soviet Union in 1958. This trip, which earned Frost the Legion of Honor from the French government, marked the first time a U.S. literary figure had ever been sent abroad for cultural diplomacy.
Though Frost passed away in 1963, his legacy lives on. His works have been republished and translated into many different languages. His influence can still be seen in contemporary poets, and his spirit has helped inspire multiple generations of writers.
Frost’s life also serves as an example of the potential of the human spirit. His journey to greatness was marked by hard work, perseverance, and an unflagging commitment to his craft. These qualities enabled him to become one of the most renowned poets of the twentieth century.