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Home > History > Robert Frost Biography

Robert Frost Biography

This is a complete biography on poet Robert Frost.

Robert Frost

Robert Frost was born on March 26, 1874 in San Francisco, California. His father was a journalist from England and his mother was from Scotland. When Frost was 11 years old, his father died from tuberculosis and the family moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts. Robert became interested in reading and writing poetry during high school. He submitted his work to the school newspaper. In 1892, he enrolled at Dartmouth College. Later he attended Harvard University for two years, but he never earned a formal college degree.

Frost worked a variety of jobs after he left school. He worked as a teacher, cobbler, and editor of the Lawrence Sentinel. On November 8, 1894, his first poem "My Butterfly," was printed in the New York newspaper The Independent for a stipend of $15.

In 1895, Frost married Elinor Miriam White. The couple would have six children together. In 1900, the family moved to a poultry farm bought by Frost's grandfather in Derry, New Hampshire. Shortly after, their son Elliot died of cholera. The same year Frost's mother died of cancer. In 1907, their daughter Elinor Bettina died one day after birth. During this time, Frost suffered from grief. This period inspired the poems The Mending Wall and Hyla Brook.

In 1912, the family moved to England after failing at poultry farming in New Hampshire. In England Robert met and was influenced by British poets, such as Edward Thomas, Rupert Brooke, and Robert Graves. He also became friends with the poet Ezra Pound, who helped publish his work. The next year, his first collection of poems, A Boy's Will was published by a small London printer named David Nutt. In 1914, his second collection of poems, North of Boston was published.

In 1915, the Frosts bought a home in Franconia, New Hampshire. A year later Robert started teaching at Amherst College. In 1916, Mountain Interval was published, which contained many poems he had written in Franconia. This collection includes one of his most famous poems, The Road Not Taken. This poem was written as a joke for a friend, the poet Edward Thomas. When they went walking together, Thomas was indecisive about which road they should take. After writing the poem, Frost read it to a group of college students, who had taken it seriously.

In 1920, the family bought the Stone House in South Shaftsbury, Vermont. Many of the poems in his fourth collection, New Hampshire were written in this house. In 1923, Frost won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for this collection of poetry. It includes the poem Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.

In 1928, Frost's next collection of poems, West-running Brook was published. In 1931, he was awarded his second Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Collected Poems, and in 1937 for A Further Range. In 1943, he received a third Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his collection A Witness Tree.

Frost served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1958 to 1959. In 1960, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by Congress. A year later, President Kennedy asked Frost to write and recite a poem at his inauguration ceremony. He wrote The Gift Outright for this occasion.  Robert Frost died on January 29, 1963 in Boston.

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