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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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Come In

As I came to the edge of the woods,
Thrush music -- hark!
Now if it was dusk outside,
Inside it was dark.

Too dark in the woods for a bird
By sleight of wing
To better its perch for the night,
Though it still could sing.

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