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Poems by Robert Frost: A Boy's Will and North of Boston
     

Poems by Robert Frost: A Boy's Will and North of Boston

by Robert Frost, William H. Pritchard, Peter Davison
 

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100th Anniversary Edition
Poems by Robert FrostA Boy’s Will and North of Boston
 
The publication of A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914) marked the debut of Robert Frost as a major talent and established him as the true poetic voice of New England. Four of his volumes would win the Pulitzer Prize before

Overview

100th Anniversary Edition
Poems by Robert FrostA Boy’s Will and North of Boston
 
The publication of A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914) marked the debut of Robert Frost as a major talent and established him as the true poetic voice of New England. Four of his volumes would win the Pulitzer Prize before his death in 1963, and his body of work has since become an integral part of the American national heritage.
 
This is the only edition to present these two classics in their original form. A Boy’s Will introduced readers to Frost’s unmistakable poetic voice, and in North of Boston, we find two of his most famous poems, “Mending Wall” and “The Death of the Hired Man.” With an introduction by distinguished critic and Amherst professor William H. Pritchard and an afterword by poet and critic Peter Davison, this centennial edition stands as a complete and vital introduction to the work of the quintessential modern American poet.
 
Introduction by William H. Pritchard
Afterword by Peter Davison

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101157602
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/01/2001
Series:
Signet Classics Series
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
File size:
169 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

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Read an Excerpt

When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy's been swinging them.
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay.
Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm,
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows--
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It's when I'm weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig's having lashed across it open.
I'd like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better.
I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Meet the Author

Robert Lee Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874. When he was ten, his father died and he and his mother moved to New England. He attended school at Dartmouth and Harvard, worked in a mill, taught, and took up farming before he moved to England, where his first books of poetry, A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914), were published. In 1915 he returned to the United States and settled on a farm in New Hampshire. Four volumes of his poetry—New Hampshire (1923), Collected Poems (1930), A Further Range (1936), and A Witness Tree (1942)—were awarded the Pulitzer Prize. He died in 1963.
 
William H. Pritchard is a distinguished critic and Henry Clay Folger Professor of English at Amherst College. Among his works are On Poets and Poetry and Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered.
 
Peter Davison was an esteemed critic, poetry editor for The Atlantic Monthly, and author of ten books of verse, including The Breaking of the Day, winner of the Yale Younger Poets Award, and such works of nonfiction as One of the Dangerous Trades: Essays on the Work and Working of Poetry.

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