From "Robert Frost: 1875-1963" by Robert Lowell
Lines that cling: "He knew better than anyone that his neighbors would find this manner boring and insufferable." "He was almost a farmer." "If God had stood in his sunlight, he would have elbowed God away with a thrust or a joke."
My neighbors are Frost's neighbors. I know what it is like to "make myself a [woman] of many ruses, subtle surprises, and weathered agility." I don't know what it is like to be a bard. But how many woman bards can you name? Is that a loss to the world? Or do our voices simply have a different potential for power?
From "Overland to the Islands" by Denise Levertov
Let's go--much as that dog goes,
The bard Whitman was the emperor of "intently haphazard." Was Frost? I'm less sure. Was Levertov? Perhaps she saw it as the way, but could not follow it with every cell of her body.
From "Abecadlo Milosza" by Czeslaw Milozz
No one will learn about Frost's own wounds and tragedies by reading his poetry; he left no clues. An appalling chain of misfortunes, numerous deaths in the family, madness, suicides, and silence about this, as if confirming his Puritan heritage, which demands that one conceal what is private behind a stoic facade. The worst part of all this is that in concerning oneself with him one is menaced by a sense of one's own particular existence. If the boundaries of the human personality are so fluid that we truly do not know who we are and are constantly trying on different changes of costume, how did Frost manage? It is impossible to grasp who he really was, aside from his unswerving striving toward his goal of fame, in an attempt to exact revenge for his own defeats in life.
I confess that I do not like his poetry.
"In concerning oneself with him one is menaced by a sense of one's own particular existence." I did not like Frost's poetry, until I was old enough to stare into that menace. Milosz's dislike is different: "I . . . am absolutely on Walt Whitman's side," he writes. But I don't see the two sides as entirely opposed.
From "The Most of It" by Robert Frost
He thought he kept the universe alone;
For all the answer he could wake
Was but the mocking echo of his own
From some tree-hidden cliff across the lake.
From "Whispers of Heavenly Death" by Walt Whitman
I need no assurances, I am a man who is pre-occupied of his own soul.