Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quote of the Day (Robert Frost, on His ‘Lover’s Quarrel With the World’)

“And were an epitaph to be my story
I’d have one ready for my own
I would have written of me on my stone
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” -- Robert Frost, “The Lesson for Today,” from A Witness Tree (1942)

It’s always a shock for me to think that Robert Frost, born on this date in 1874, was a native of California, not the New England where the overwhelming majority of his work is set. Like the landscapes of the settings he came to know so well in adulthood, his work is solid, but hardly as straight or smooth as one might expect. Its tone, conversational more often than not, is a trick of the poet’s voice, with unexpected depths and edges. It is, for all of that, extraordinary and enduring.

(The image accompanying this post, a 1959 photograph of the poet taken by Walter Albertin, comes from the Library of Congress’ New York World-Telegram and Sun Collection.)

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