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Robert Frost: Sixteen Poems to Learn by Heart

By Robert Frost & Jay Parini
Robert Frost: Sixteen Poems to Learn by Heart by Robert Frost & Jay Parini digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

Celebrate Robert Frost's 150th birthday with a deluxe keepsake edition featuring 16 of his greatest poems—with brilliant essays highlighting his special genius and the power of memorization to unlock the magic of his language

During a public reading Robert Frost was once asked why he so frequently recited his poems from memory. With typical wit, he replied: “If they won’t stick to me, I won’t stick to them.” Remarkably among the modern poets, his poems “stick” to the reader: 

  • "Mending Wall," with its famous invocation of the rural maxim "Good fences make good neighbors"
  • "The Road Not Taken," about the beguiling possibilities of life
  • "Birches," which reminds us that "One could do worse than be a swinger of birches
  • "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," with its unforgettable final line: "And miles to go before I sleep."

Here, poet and Frost biographer Jay Parini presents these and 12 other Frost poems to learn by heart. In short accompanying commentaries, Parini illuminates the stylistic and imaginative features of each of the poems, drawing in biographical material from Frost’s life to provide further context.  “The goal of this little book is to encourage readers to slow down—to listen to Frost’s words and phrases, to locate their deepest rhythms, and hear the tune of each poem as it unfolds. . . . Memorizing a poem can teach us much about a poem’s structure and argument, and about the resonance of particular words. And best of all, memorization makes a poem part of our inner lives. Once committed to memory, a poem is available to us for recall at any time—and the occasions for remembering it will make themselves known to us. It isn’t something we have to work at.” 

Anyone who has read and loved Frost’s poetry will want to own and treasure this little gift edition. Those reading Frost for the first time or those wishing to become better acquainted with one of America’s greatest poets will not find a better, more insightful guide than Jay Parini.

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About Robert Frost

Robert 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 Pulitzer Prizes. He died in 1963.

Jay Parini, the D. E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College, is a poet, novelist, biographer, and critic. He is the author of Robert Frost: A Life, Why Poetry Matters, and Borges and Me: An Encounter, among many other works of nonfiction. His books of poetry include New and Collected Poems, 1975–2015 and The Art of Subtraction.

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