The Poetics of Robert Frost

Robert Frost wrote poetry using traditional theories and practices of versification. He delighted in imposing on himself the discipline of rhyme and meter. Form was of prime importance to him as a philosophic principle and for the "making" of poetry. The word "design" was sacred to Frost. He was very interested in the rules of poetry, but he had his own twist on them. He kept the rules and he broke the rules; that should be kept in mind in studying his use of poetics. Frost rebelled at being labeled with any of the current fads in Poetry. He said, "I started calling myself a Synecdochist when others called themselves Imagists or Vorticists." Actually, Frost was more a Classicist - he adheres to traditional standards that are universally valid and enduring. An important innovation, along with other poets of his time, was the use of everyday language. He believed conversational language and tones of voice combined with ordinary experience could be good poetic material.

Frost's poems are virtual treasure troves of all those principles of versification and yet his poems are also jewels of psychological meaning. Above all, Frost was a humanist.

Frost's "poetics" are displayed on grids which will identify the elements of his poetry giving definitions and examples. Click on the following links to pull up the grid:

Figurative Language



Sound Devices - Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance, Rhyme,

Form - Structure, organization, pattern


Bibliography for "The Poetics of Robert Frost"
Selected Prose of Robert Frost ed by Cox and Lathem
Fire and Ice: The Art and Thought of Robert Frost by Lawrence Thompson
The Dimensions of Robert Frost by Reginald L. Cook
Robert Frost: A Living Voice by Reginald L. Cook
Robert Frost on Writing by Elaine Barry
Glossary of Poetic Terms from BOB'S BYWAY
Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry by Laurence Perrine
"The Poetics of Robert Frost" by Carole Thompson
Copyright 2001 The Friends of Robert Frost

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