Frost's Voice and Idiom
 
Frost started writing poetry at the end of the Victorian period. He (along with Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot) wanted to reform the poetic idiom away from the artificial language of the 19th century. Frost believed that everyday conversation could be used to carry traditional poetic forms (iambic meter, rhyming patterns, form and style: sonnets, odes, elegies).
 
Frost did not influence Eliot. Eliot writes from a sort of insane place in the human heart. He appeals to the disturbed part in all of us. Yeats precedes Frost slightly, and is much more formal. Frost poses as the literate farmer - man of the earth, hard boiled Yankee.

In The Trial by Existence by Elizabeth Sergeant (biography) p423 states the following:
"Robert Frost has said over and over, that in his poetry he did not aim to keep to any particular speech, unliterary, vernacular, or slang. Frost said, "What I have been after from the first, consciously and unconsciously is tones of voice. I've wanted to write down certain brute throat noises so that no one could miss them in my sentences. I have been guilty of speaking of sentences as a mere notation for indicating them, I have counted on doubling the meaning of my sentences with them. They have been my observation and my subject matter."

In 1914 when he met Robert Bridges, who had a fixed-quantity theory about syllables and verse, Frost disagreed with Bridges in a letter, and went on to say:
"The living part of a poem is the intonation entangled somehow in the syntax idiom and meaning of a sentence. It is only here for those who have heard it previously in conversation. It is not for us in any Greek or Latin poem because our ears have not been filled with tones of Greek or Roman talk. It is the most volatile and at the same time important part of poetry ..."

There was a lecture by Allen Tate given 3/26/74 at the Library of Congress.
The Lecture was entitled "Inner Weather" - Robert Frost as Metaphysical Poet." It was printed by the
Library of Congress in a booklet called "Robert Frost - Lectures on the Centennial of his Birth.

Tate says: "Frost had a uniformity of style that makes it hard to date most poems. He was trying to simplify diction but stay in iambic pentameter. Most of his characters talk alike." Tate says, "Frost was not a first rate lyric poet - he ruminates rather than sings. Frost, along with Pound and Eliot were trying to reform poetic diction." Tate says, "Frost must have believed that in order to break new stylistic ground he had to LOCATE IT LITERALLY. He did locate it in New England. Frost saw New England nature and the nature of New England men as his own; both natures had to be discovered. He therefore invented a language for this."

For example, from The Death of the Hired Man:
"Home is the place where, when you have to go there
They have to take you in."
It is plain, direct, and conversational. But it's too good to be prose or conversation. It's simple on the surface but there's an obscurity and a depth that you can't quite get inside of. This is vintage Frost.
 
Reference Robert Frost: The Years of Triumph by Lawrence Thompson p416 (also see note 13 p.665)
In 1935 Frost lectured before the Winter Institute of Literature at the University of Miami. The talk was entitled "Before the Beginning and After the End of a Poem":

Frost said, "In the creative act, a certain impulse or state of mind
precedes the writing of the poem. Next comes what Stevenson called 'a
visitation of style', a power to find words which will somehow convey the
impulse. The subject matter is provided by a combination of 'things' that
happen to us and 'things' that occur to us. And gradually, out of this
happy process the poem gets made, leaving something more implied than
stated. It is what is beyond that makes poetry - what is unsaid .. It's
unsaid part is its best part"

In an interview with Harvey Breit of The New York Times Book Review, Frost observed:

"If poetry isn't understanding all, the whole word, then it isn't worth anything. Young poets forget that poetry must include the mind as well as the emotions. Too many poets delude themselves by thinking the mind is dangerous and must be left out. Well, the mind is dangerous and must be left in."

Before Frost died, everyone loved him as the sagely, homespun Yankee poet: charming, wise, witty, lovable. He was immensely popular. The academics loved Frost, but they studied Eliot. Now, they are studying Frost as never before. His biographer, Lawrence Thompson, created a monster myth which stunned the public and is still being dealt with.

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