Robert Frost

(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963 / San Francisco)

Quotations

  • ''You don't have to deserve your mother's love. You have to deserve your father's. He is more particular.... The father is always a Republican towards his son, and his mother's always a Democrat.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
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  • ''Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. Address, May 17, 1935, Milton Academy, Massachusetts.
  • ''A poem ... begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.... It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. letter, Jan. 1, 1916, to poet and anthologist Louis Untermeyer. The Letters of Robert Frost to Louis Untermeyer (1963).
  • ''A light he was to no one but himself.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. An Old Man's Winter Night (l. 15). . . The Poetry of Robert Frost. Edward Connery Lathem, ed. (1979) Henry Holt.
  • ''"Skepticism" is that anything more than we used to mean when we said, "Well, what have we here?"''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. Quoted by critic Lionel Trilling, Partisan Review 50th Anniversary Edition, 1946 entry, ed. William Philips (1985).
  • ''People are inexterminable—like flies and bed-bugs. There will always be some that survive in cracks and crevices—that's us.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. Quoted in Observer (London, March 29, 1959).
  • ''Poetry is what is lost in translation.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. Quoted in Robert Frost: a Backward Look, ch. 1, Louis Untermeyer (1964). Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, in Biographia Literaria (1817), ch. 22: "In poetry, in which every line, every phrase, may pass the ordeal of deliberation and deliberate choice, it is possible, and barely possible, to attain that ultimatum which I have ventured to propose as the infallible test of a blameless style; namely: its untranslatableness in words of the same language without injury to the meaning."
  • ''I'm not confused, I'm just well mixed.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. quoted in Wall Street Journal (New York, Aug. 5, 1969).
  • ''Thinking isn't agreeing or disagreeing. That's voting.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).
  • ''You don't have to deserve your mother's love. You have to deserve your father's. He's more particular.... The father is always a Republican towards his son, and his mother's always a Democrat.''
    Robert Frost (1874-1963), U.S. poet. Interview in Writers at Work, Second Series, ed. George Plimpton (1963).

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Revelation

We make ourselves a place apart
Behind light words that tease and flout,
But oh, the agitated heart
Till someone find us really out.

'Tis pity if the case require
(Or so we say) that in the end
We speak the literal to inspire
The understanding of a friend.

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