Monday, March 23, 2015

Say Hello to Robert Frost ~ A Brief Visit to Selected Poems {High School Literature Curriculum Series}

{If you’re new here, you may want to start with my post Creating a High School Literature Curriculum ~ Post by Post and follow it up with Why Study the Classics of Literature? Welcome!}

I'll start this post with a confession. I've never been a huge fan of poetry. Dr. Seuss is good, with his sing-song rhymes and made-up words. But adult poetry? Meh. I know, it’s bad form for a lit major.

And yet, with a few particular poems, I've found something simple but profound. A few carefully-chosen words that can stir the soul, infuse it with beauty and truth and awareness.

Or, if you want to quote that old 1980's pop song, things that make you go hmm....

Well, that probably wasn't the most respectful way to approach Robert Frost's wisdom, but that's the era a lot of us grew up in.

Yet another reason why we're reading the classics. J

Robert Frost, an American poet, was born on March 26, 1874. His 141st birthday is this Thursday! J After he graduated high school, he worked at many different jobs. {Isn’t this how most famous people, and quite a few us ordinary folk, start out?} When he was 38, his first book of poems was published, and more soon followed. He died on January 29, 1963, survived by only two of his six children.

Want an interesting tidbit about Robert Frost? In 1961, when he was 86 years old, President Elect John F. Kennedy asked him to write and recite a poem for his inauguration. Frost’s eyesight was failing, and when the moment came on the dais, he couldn’t read what he had written. Instead, he recited his own poem, “The Gift Outright,” which he had memorized.

To read more of his biography, try these websites ~

My daughter and I have read three poems for this one-week study, all of which can be found for free at Cold Bacon. {No idea whatsoever where that name came from!} A couple of discussion questions follow.

            Mending Wall

            What do you think of walls or fences? For or against? Why? What do you think the poet thinks of walls? Why? What is his goal?

            The Road Not Taken

Do you think the poet was satisfied with his choice in taking the road less travelled? Have you been in a similar situation, taking a path less frequented by others? What did you learn from it? Read Matthew 7:13. Is this verse relevant? How so?

            Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

I have no questions for this poem. Just enjoy the tranquility of that refreshing moment before the poet returns to his responsibilities.

Challenge ~

Memorize Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. Practice reciting it with a thoughtful or conversational inflection, as if you are the driver thinking or talking to yourself.

Great quotes ~

“Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.”
Robert Frost

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” 
Robert Frost

Happy reading!

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  1. I love teaching Frost to my kids! We just finished memorizing The Master Speed a few months ago, and they loved unraveling the poem gradually. He's one of my favorites!

    1. I think he's become of my favorites as well, Nicole. I'm keeping an eye out for a book of his, so we can study more of his work. Thanks! :-)


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