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Visiting Frost: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Robert Frost written by Sheila Coghill

 

Visiting Frost: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Robert Frost written by Sheila Coghill

Overview:

Like Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Robert Frost looms large in the American literary landscape, straddling the 19th and 20th centuries like a poetic colossus: whosoever desires passage must, at some point, contend with the monolithic presence of Robert Frost. As they did in Visiting Emily and Visiting Walt, in Visiting Frost, Sheila Coghill and Thom Tammaro once again capture the conversations between contemporary poets and a legend whose voice endures. In his introduction to the collection, Frost biographer Jay Parini likens the poet to a “great power station, one who stands off by himself in the big woods, continuously generating electricity that future poets can tap into for the price of a volume of his poems.” A four-time Pulitzer Prize winner whose work is principally associated with the landscape and life in New England, Frost (1874-1963) was a traditional, psychologically complex, often dark and intense poet. In Visiting Frost, one hundred homage-paying poets—some who knew Frost, most only acquainted through his work—celebrate and reflect that intensity, in effect tapping into his electrical current. By reacting to specific Frost poems, by reinventing others, and by remembering aspects of Frost or by quarreling with him, the contributors speak on behalf of us whose lives have been brightened by the memorization and recitation of such poems as “The Road Not Taken” or “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” As the poets pay tribute to Frost's place in American poetry and history, they suggest—more than forty years after his death-just how alive and vital he remains in our collective memory.

Synopsis:

Like Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Robert Frost looms large in the American literary landscape, straddling the 19th and 20th centuries like a poetic colossus: whosoever desires passage must, at some point, contend with the monolithic presence of Robert Frost. As they did in Visiting Emily and Visiting Walt, in Visiting Frost, Sheila Coghill and Thom Tammaro once again capture the conversations between contemporary poets and a legend whose voice endures. In his introduction to the collection, Frost biographer Jay Parini likens the poet to a “great power station, one who stands off by himself in the big woods, continuously generating electricity that future poets can tap into for the price of a volume of his poems.” A four-time Pulitzer Prize winner whose work is principally associated with the landscape and life in New England, Frost (1874-1963) was a traditional, psychologically complex, often dark and intense poet. In Visiting Frost, one hundred homage-paying poets—some who knew Frost, most only acquainted through his work—celebrate and reflect that intensity, in effect tapping into his electrical current. By reacting to specific Frost poems, by reinventing others, and by remembering aspects of Frost or by quarreling with him, the contributors speak on behalf of us whose lives have been brightened by the memorization and recitation of such poems as “The Road Not Taken” or “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” As the poets pay tribute to Frost's place in American poetry and history, they suggest—more than forty years after his death-just how alive and vital he remains in our collective memory.

Jessica Swaim - KLIATT

From the same editors that brought us Visiting Emily (Dickinson) and Visiting Walt (Whitman), this anthology contains over 100 poems that pay homage to New England's premier poet. Robert Bly, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maxine Kumin, Richard Eberhart, and Richard Wilbur are among the gifted contributors who honor Frost with, for example, poetic recollections of personal encounters with him, reflections at his grave, and remembrances of his appearance at JFK's inauguration. On the lighter side are parodies of some of Frost's most famous poems, such as Wendell Berry's send-up of The Pasture ("Don't come with me/You stay home too"), Kenneth Koch's Mending Sump ("Something there is that doesn't hump a sump"), or Gail White's Traveling with Cats on a Snowy Evening ("I've no idea whose woods these are/But I'm not getting very far/From Albany to NYC/With two cats yowling in my car.") Fans and students of Frost may be inspired to write their own tributes, or at least to revisit the work that won the poet four Pulitzer Prizes. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2003, Univ. of Iowa Press, 180p., Ages 15 to adult.

Excerpt:

“There is a singer everyone has heard, and that singer is Robert Frost. He had a lovely, strong, passionate, idiosyncratic, violent, sharp, deep, whimsical, witty, and wise voice. The reality presented by this anthology is that many gifted poets have listened to his songs, and they have found the tunes marvelous, and they have chosen to respond to those airs in their own measure, in their own strong voices. In this there is cause for celebration.”—Jay Parini, from the foreword

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Title: Visiting Frost: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Robert Frost

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