Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thinking about the excellence of Robert Frost

In my new-found freelance career, I'm posting at Two of my first handful of articles there are about Robert Frost's poem "Into My Own." This was the first poem in Frost's first book, A Boy's Will. I began reading this poem about three of four years ago after I bought the book, The Poetry of Robert Frost: The collected poems, complete and unabridged. "Into My Own" was the first poem in the book, given that the book is arranged chronologically by publication. I've read on farther into the book, but keep coming back to this one.

Frost uses a number of poetic devices in the poem. His form is the sonnet, but with rhyming couplets in lieu of any of the sonnet interlocking rhymes. His meter is iambic, as the sonnet demands. He uses metaphor and imagery. His word choices are great. The line breaks are masterfully chosen. Even though the form dictates where a line break should be, Frost's lines progress in a way that later lines requires re-interpretation of earlier lines. What more could you ask for in a poem?

I'm writing a series of articles on Suite 101 about this poem. So far I have posted, or have enough material for, the following.

  • Robert Frost's "Into My Own": An Overview
  • Imagery and Metaphor in "Into My Own"
  • Word Choices in "Into My Own"
  • Rhyme and Meter Enhance "Into My Own"
  • Effective Use of Line Breaks in "Into My Own"
The 800 word limitation in Suite 101 articles means I need to break this up as shown. Will I write all five articles? I'm not sure, but I'm seriously thinking about it.

But as I've done so I'm somewhat sobered concerning my own poetry. Frost is such a master, I shouldn't compare myself to him. Yet, when I read "Into My Own", one of his less-well known poems, and see how much excellence is in it, I can't help but wish I could do as well. Did Frost set out to do all that he did in this one 14 line poem? Did he really think through those excellent word choices? Did he plan the poem to progressively reveal the character and to not finish with the character building until the last line? Or did the poem just come out in a rush of emotion and creativity, as many people think you should write poetry?

Well, it's something to strive for, that's for sure. But, given that I have not analyzed any of Frost's other poems as much as I have this one, I'm wondering what else is in store for me in these 607 pages. Will I analyze the rest of them to such an extent that I write five 600-word essays on each one? That would be a lifetime of work.

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