Robert Frost:  A Lone Wolf

Updated on September 29, 2017
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After I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962, poetry became my passion.

Robert Frost



Robert Frost is America's most beloved poet. He considered himself a "lone wolf." While other poets were clinging to schools of poetry, he clung only to poetry itself. He did not begrudge or judge other poets for clinging to schools of thought regarding poetry, but he did not mind revealing that his first love was for the art itself.

Early Years

Robert Lee Frost was born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco, California to William and Isabelle Moody Frost. His father was a teacher and a journalist, and his mother was a teacher. He was named after General Robert E. Lee.

When Robert Lee was eleven years old, his father died of tuberculosis. To honor his father’s wish to be buried where he had been born, Robert, his mother and sister relocated across the country to Lawrence, Massachusetts, where they lived with his paternal grandfather, William Prescott Frost; his mother resumed school teaching to support her children.

With both parents having been teachers, it naturally followed that Robert Lee would spend at least some time in the classroom himself. He had been exposed to the writings of Shakespeare, Robert Burns, and William Wordsworth through his parents’ library.

Robert Lee excelled in other high school subjects in addition to literary studies, including history, botany, Latin, and Greek. He also played football, and graduated at the head of his class.

After graduating from Lawrence High School, he enrolled in Dartmouth, but he soon discovered that college life did not interest him so he after only a few months, he dropped out. He also worked for a time in a mill, and he then taught Latin at the same school where his mother had taught in Methuen, Massachusetts.

Writing Poetry

Frost discovered his enthusiasm for writing poetry in high school. He succeeded in writing a poem titled “La Noche Triste," which was published in the his high school newspaper in 1890. He then was encouraged to continue to compose poems whether he was working in a mill, farming, or teaching.

In 1894, his poem, “My Butterfly: An Elegy” was accepted by a New York magazine, the Independent. He was paid $15.00 for that poem. His dedication to poetry writing thus became a permanent feature of his life.

After his marriage to his high school sweetheart, who also served as his co-valedictorian at their graduation ceremony, the couple lived on a farm in New Hampshire, where Frost enjoyed being a part-time farmer. Some of his most famous poems were inspired by his experiences on the farm: “Mending Wall,” which he wrote while in England is an example.

A Lone Wolf

The poems of Robert Frost defy easy categorization. He objected to being called a nature poet because he insisted that all his poems take the human heart and soul as their themes. They are not merely lovely pictures of flowers, birds, and trees.

While other poets were being grouped in schools of poetry through poetic theory, Frost objected to being included in any group, claiming that he was a "lone wolf." He felt that if poets needed that kind of thing, they should do it, but he preferred to remain independent.

Robert Frost - Mini Biography

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes


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