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John Richetti reads selected poems of Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874–1963) became the most widely known American poet during his long lifetime, although the poems most familiar to the public during his later years, especially "The Road Not Taken," presented a somewhat misleading view of him as a benign rural sage who offered simple, folksy consolations drawn from Nature. But in fact his poetry uses the closely-observed natural world to evoke situations and images that explore moral and philosophical issues with rigorous clarity. As the critic, Lionel Trilling observed Frost's poetic universe is in fact "terrifying." His often disturbing poetic insights are delivered in a straightforward, conversational style that uses traditional metrical organization as well as rhyme.

Frost was born in San Francisco and worked as a New Hampshire farmer only briefly before deciding to move to England in 1912 to pursue a career as a poet. He published there his first book, A Boy's Will (1913) and came to know the American expatriate poet, Ezra Pound, as well as many other prominent writers while in England, including William Butler Yeats, who remarked to Pound that Frost's first book "is the best poetry written in America for a long time." Upon his return to the United States, he bought a farm in New Hampshire. In 1917 he settled in Amherst, Massachusetts and for a number of years taught at Amherst College, the beginning of a life-long affiliation with the school.

All the poems in this selection are drawn from the Library of America edition of his works, Robert Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays, ed. Richard Poirier and Mark Richardson.

—John Richetti

Home Recordings, August 16–17, 2021

  1. Provide, Provide (1:06): MP3
  2. My November Guest (1:03): MP3
  3. After Apple Picking (2:00): MP3
  4. Departmental (1:47): MP3
  5. Choose Something Like a Star (1:15): MP3
  6. Design (0:56): MP3
  7. Mowing (0:56): MP3
  8. A Considerable Speck (1:48): MP3
  9. Acquainted with the Night (0:56): MP3
  10. Birches (3:24): MP3
  11. Stopping by Woods (0:55): MP3
  12. The Oven Bird (0:53): MP3
  13. Nothing Gold Can Stay (0:23): MP3
  14. The Rose Family (0:24): MP3
  15. Putting in the Seed (0:53): MP3
  16. Fire and Ice (0:28): MP3
  17. The Road Not Taken (1:07): MP3
  18. The Tuft of Flowers (2:15): MP3
  19. Never Again Would the Birds' Song Be the Same (0:56): MP3
  20. Hyla Brook (0:58) MP3
  21. For Once Then Something (1:07): MP3
  22. To Earthward (1:18): MP3
  23. In a Disused Graveyard (0:54): MP3
  24. Into My Own (1:01): MP3
  25. Ghost House (1:46): MP3
  26. Hardwood Groves (0:44): MP3
  27. The Wood Pile (2:28): MP3
  28. Dust of Snow (0:20): MP3
  29. Spring Pools (0:54): MP3
  30. Once by the Pacific (0:54): MP3
  31. Tree at My Window (0:51): MP3
  32. Desert Places (1:06): MP3
  33. West-Running Brook (4:26): MP3
  34. Two Look at Two (2:43): MP3
  35. Two Tramps in Mud Time (3:44): MP3
  36. A Hillside Thaw (2:13): MP3
  37. Directive (3:29): MP3
  38. The Death of the Hired Man (9:09): MP3
  39. Home Burial (6:45): MP3
  40. The Witch of Coos (8:36): MP3
  41. The Subverted Flower (2:48): MP3
  42. The Demiurge's Laugh (1:03): MP3
  43. Pan with Us (1:47): MP3

© 2021 John Richetti. Recordings available for non-commercial and educational use only. Distributed with permission of John Richetti by PennSound.