New Hampshire’s Frost

I think this is the first state that I am representing with a poet, despite my deep and abiding love of poetry…  I have been fascinated by Frost ever since my senior seminar on his poetry.  He is hard to pigeon-hole, just like the U.S. and just like his homestate of New Hampshire.  We frequently think of “The Road Less Taken” (so often misunderstood…), but he has a depth and breadth in his body of work that deserves a second look, if you’re so inclined…

Creative Commons License photo credit: dougtone

First, a poem I just discovered courtesy of a wonderful Frost website:

To the Thawing WindCome with rain. O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
make the settled snowbank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate’er you do tonight,
bath my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ice will go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit’s crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o’er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.


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Creative Commons License photo credit: dougtone

And here are excerpts of some of my long-time favorites.  They are long, so I’ve only included a taste — click on the title for the full poem.

Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulder in the sun,
And make gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there,
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
Creative Commons License photo credit: dougtone

After Apple-Picking

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still,
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.
I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.

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Creative Commons License photo credit: dougtone

I could go on… and on…

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Curious about what states we’ve done so far and which ones are on deck?

Photo by marxchivist

First, from Melanie Jones:

  • Alabama: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (check out my To Kill A Mockingbird Sample Kit!)
  • Michigan: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides
  • Alaska: The Man Who Swam With Beavers by Nancy Lord
  • Arizona: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
  • North Dakota: Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
  • Vermont: The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • Hawaii: Heads by Harry by Lois-ann Yamanaka
  • Georgia: Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones
  • And I went out on my own for…

  • Florida: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Nora Zeale Hurston
  • Minnesota: In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien
  • Wisconsin: When Madeline Was Young by Jane Hamilton
  • Louisiana: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (Jones’ pick) and The Awakening by Kate Chopin (my pick)
  • Colorado: Plainsong by Kent Haruf
  • Maryland: Anything by Anne Tyler
  • Georgia: Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • Ohio: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Arkansas: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Virginia: John Grisham
  • Idaho: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
  • North Carolina: Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
  • Tennesee: Run by Ann Patchett
  • New Jersey: Anything by Janet Ivanovich
  • Texas: Anything by Elmer Kelton
  • Connecticut: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
  • Montana: The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie
  • Utah: Edward Abbey
  • South Carolina: Pat Conroy
  • Iowa: Wallace Stegner
  • Pennsylvania: John Updike and James Michener
  • Wondering where your state is? Coming soon… In the meantime, weigh in on future picks!

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    9 Responses to New Hampshire’s Frost

    1. Anna says:

      Have you ever been to his home in Franconia, NH? My husband and I were on vacation in the White Mountains just drive along, and we saw the sign and went. It was great. There was even a trail in the woods behind the house and snippets from his poems were posted throughout the trail. This was about 8 years or so ago.

    2. “After Apple Picking” is one of my favorite poems ever. I think of it as my father’s theme poem (he is an apple breeder/orcardist), and part of my master’s thesis had roots this poem.

    3. Evidently Frost had a summer home in Vermont, too. There was a great story on NPR about the power of poetry–about teenage vandals who ruined Frost’s summer home and were forced to study his poetry as a punishment. Here’s the url-it’s worth listening to 🙂

    4. Kristen says:

      Hi Anna! I haven’t been to his home yet, but would like to go someday! The trail sounds great — thanks for the heads up!

    5. Kristen says:

      @ SmallWorld Reads — Isn’t it the best. I love how the feeling of the rungs on his instep stay with him… and the dream sequence… what a great theme poem to have!

    6. Kristen says:

      @ gentle reader — Thanks for the link! I had heard something about that story but didn’t know all of the details… As an English teacher, I sure support that ruling! 🙂

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