Sunday, September 19, 2010


         I'm serving up my weekly slice of vanilla cake with loads of Robert Frost-ing. That was clever wasn't it? I thought so. Robert Frost, a world-renowned poet to this day, stood at the crossroads of nineteenth-century American poetry and Modernism. To put it in cake terms, his poetry was marble, not all chocolate and not all vanilla. His poetry had the best of both…flavors. Similar to the nineteenth-century Romantics of poetry, Frost states that a poem is “never a put-up job… it begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a loneliness. It is never a thought to begin with. It is at its best when it is a tantalizing vagueness.” A little melancholy of Frost, wouldn’t you say? His romantic heart needs some comfort food; cake perhaps? In the more modern sense, Frost “upheld T.S. Eliot’s idea that the man who suffers and the artist who creates are totally separate.”
         Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets! He is a true New Englander at heart, and really includes regionalism and “sound of sense” into his many, many poems. One characteristic that I particularly like about Frost is that he steers clear of politics, religion, or mysticism in his poetry. Rather, he reflects on the realism, the beauty of nature and simplicity in the world. His poetry cake is not cluttered and masked by mounds of sprinkles and icing designs; it is delicious within itself. However, Frost’s poetry cakes are certainly layered. Some can even stretch to five or more tiers. To the reader (or taster) it’s like looking at the cake from the top. The idea is simple and there is one layer of cake to eat. But as the taster discovers and examines the different layers, it becomes a much more complicated and significant cake. I hope I’m not being too complicated in my cake metaphors. To put it simply, Frost bakes in hidden meanings within his poems. You may need to read a poem several times, but after a while, the tiers start to fall away and new meanings emerge. Stated in his own words, “Poetry provides the one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another.” Genius!
         One popular example of this method is Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.” This poem can be interpreted in seemingly infinite ways. The literal interpretation of this poem is that one man actually stood in the middle of the woods at a fork in the road with two pathways. He pondered the idea of each path before choosing one. The poem can also be interpreted as a metaphor for life. Some man (or woman) found themselves at a crossroads/ an important decision in their life that would change the course of their life forever. Once they have made the decision, they would never be in that same exact place again. In cake terms, if someone decides to eat an entire cake on such and such date at such and such time, they will never make that decision again at that exact time. We are always moving forward, and we can never go back.
         Frost made many of these important crossroad decisions and had many great accomplishments through his life. He published several compilations of poetry, won two Pulitzer Prizes, read one of his poems at the 1961 presidential inauguration of John F. Kennedy, had a mountain named after him in Ripton, Vermont and a library named after him in Amherst, Massachusetts. Frost once stated, “if poetry isn’t understanding all, the whole world, then it isn’t worth anything.”
         A truly celebrated individual, Robert Frost is like the Cake Boss of poetry. 

Right or Wrong?

While taking this poetry class it has made me ponder a lot about the basic ideas of poetry. I have always been timid whether to discuss how I feel on a certain piece of work because I was worried whether my response would be right or wrong. Whether or not I would be made fun of because of my interpretation on the certain work, or maybe because my response didn't agree with everyone else's. However I have learned to break this barrier and have quickly learned that there is no right or wrong to the way that poetry is viewed. In "The Road not Taken" by Robert Frost he has shown me that there is no right or wrong way in the way that things are viewed. There isn't just one interpretation to something that is read such as his poem. Like Frost stated in his poem one of the roads was more grassy than the other and "needed wear". With this I feel that it is more unique to stray away from the normal way of thinking. With taking the road that needs wear, you are taking more of a chance to have other people think about the ideas that you put dish out on the table. As long as you have evidence to support your idea why should one be wrong? Robert Frost believed that poetry comes from a lump in the throat. This meant a lot me because I felt this means that it comes from what you are feeling at a certain moment in time. When writing poems for this class I felt that there always had to be a correct idea that everyone had to agree on, a correct structure and a rhyme scheme that was well organized. However when Frost rhymed erratically and lacked everything that I thought needed to be there I quickly learned that there was no right or wrong to poetry. All in all reading many different types of works has lead me to the conclusion that there is not a right or wrong to poetry. This has been a learning process with reading all the different types of poetry. A right or wrong is not possible because it is simply an interpretation on how you feel on a certain subject.