Read Poems by Robert Frost: A Boy's Will and North of Boston by Robert Frost William H. Pritchard Peter Davison Online


The publication of A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914) marked the debut of Robert Frost as a major talent and established him as the true poetic voice of New England. Four of his volumes would win the Pulitzer Prize before his death in 1963, and his body of work has since become an integral part of the American national heritage.This is the only edition to preseThe publication of A Boy’s Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914) marked the debut of Robert Frost as a major talent and established him as the true poetic voice of New England. Four of his volumes would win the Pulitzer Prize before his death in 1963, and his body of work has since become an integral part of the American national heritage.This is the only edition to present these two classics in their original form. A Boy’s Will introduced readers to Frost’s unmistakable poetic voice, and in North of Boston, we find two of his most famous poems, “Mending Wall” and “The Death of the Hired Man.” With an introduction by distinguished critic and Amherst College professor William H. Pritchard, and afterword by poet and critic Peter Davidson, and carefully selected bibliography, this edition stands as a complete and vital introduction to the work of the quintessential modern American poet....

Title : Poems by Robert Frost: A Boy's Will and North of Boston
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ISBN : 9780451527875
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 152 Pages
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Poems by Robert Frost: A Boy's Will and North of Boston Reviews

  • Reem Ghabbany
    2018-11-26 14:54

    I’ve read quotes for Robert Frost and loved them so I bought this book but oh my god!! This was painful!! It was so bad!! I couldn’t get through it and I skipped a lot of pages!!

  • LunaticBookLover
    2018-12-08 15:55

    I had to read this for my literature class, and I have to say it was just okay. Nothing special and it had good messages, but like most literature and older poems, just not for me. I'm so glad I only have one boo left in this course, THEN I'LL BE FREE!!!

  • Alan
    2018-11-27 18:09

    I've taught half a dozen of these poems for forty years, many from memory, first, The Pasture. My Crocket Ridge, Maine, grandparents really had a pasture spring, the cow Polly, and yearly calf--whom Polly defended from the dog Jerome by lifting my brother, in front of the dog, over the stone wall. The spring had great water, down a couple feet, and of course a frog living there. The Tuft of Flowers (the mower spared) I have growing in my back yard, in fact a dozen of them: orange Butterfly Weed, Asclepias Tuberosa. (Perhaps only Pritchard's edition keeps the line, "Finding them Butterfly Weed when I came" after "I left my place to know them by their name.") Speaking of Pritchard, Frost was his interlocutor, and a presence at my undergrad Amherst College. (I published a poem, After the Fall, on JFK and my teacher MacLeish dedicating the Frost Library a month before Dallas. My first poem in that publication, Ars Docentis, compares leading cows like Polly and leading classes: on heifers, "They.. attack afraid/ And retreat feeling real brave. There's/ No understanding them…) By memory, The Road Not Taken, which every reader, every student, thinks describes their life--that remarkable, emphatic use of line end as conversational pause in colloquial repetition: "I--/ I took the one less travelled by…." Such a New England poem, yet written in England, perhaps recalling NE. Lots of my Frost teaching was aloudreading in class: say, Home Burial. One student, narrator, I the husband, another student, the wife despising the husband, who says a remarkable line, the reason I grabbed the part: "What was it brought you up to think it the thing/ To take your mother-loss…""What was it" does not sound like a pentameter, but it is with one extra syllable on the last foot.Or aloudreading, because my students were 2/3 women, average age mid-twenties, A Servant to Servants, where students read it all--a woman driven crazy by housing her mad brother-in-law, but mostly by servitude, though living with great views. Driving in N NH I think of her Lake Willoughby: "There's more to it than just window-views/ And living by a lake." I think that in my hometown too, all the ocean-views. (No more to it?) The best definition of "housework" in all lit: "doing/ Things over and over that just won't stay done."

  • John Doe
    2018-11-28 20:13

    Incredible!What Frost gets so well is the absurdity of a young genius confronted with the reality of life in a small town. And, learning to live with it.

  • Audrey Greathouse
    2018-12-10 15:58

    While not my favorite collection of Robert Frost's work, I did find it intensely enjoyable to go through and look at his earliest published work in isolation. I preferred A Boy's Will over North of Boston, which shouldn't surprise anyone. Given my druthers, I always gravitate to lyrical poetry over narrative and blank verse. Favorite poems include the piquant melancholy of "My November Guest" and the subtle, sweet "Stars." I would say both "Wind and Window Flower"and "Rose Pogonias" did a great job of capturing very specific sentiments (unrequited love and the beauty of secret places, respectively) and "Pan with Us" reminded me of my beloved Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. As far as North of Boston goes, I recommend the famous "Mending Wall" because it lives up to the hype that everyone gives it (a fact I only now have come to appreciate.) "Home Burial" and "The Black Cottage" also resonated with me in tristful little ways. Of course, my hands-down favorite from North of Boston is "Blueberries." I highly recommend, even if you aren't the type to sit down and read straight poetry, that you search for these poems and get a flavor of Robert Frost's early work, both lyrical and narrative.

  • J. Alfred
    2018-11-27 14:13

    Nothing really wild and crazy in this volume. As normally happens, the poems that one has run into before are the best ones (thus, they have been passed on). "Mending Wall" and "After Apple Picking" were the only two I knew previously, and I'm pretty sure they were the best two in there. However, there is some other neat stuff to be found: he has a lot of long, dialogue poems that tell Hemmingway-esqe stories, in addition to some exciting little love poems I didn't know were in his vein. "Asking for Roses" and "A Line-Storm Song" were my two new favorites. In any case, even if this isn't quite his best stuff, you can tell that the guy is a master. Some of his lines just stick with you. "Three foggy mornings and one rainy day/ will rot the best birch fence a man can build" is nothing short of haunting in context. I'd still go with a volume of selected poems though, for an introduction.

  • James
    2018-12-01 16:51

    Some interesting stuff here and yet it did not appeal to me personally. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see the growth or change of Frost from his first volume, "A Boy's Will", to his second only a year later. He moves from rather short "traditional" poetry to long poems without end rhyme. The poems of the second book are essentially short stories in poem format. My problem was that I simply did not find most of those "stories" enjoyable or meaningful. I realize that these works are over one hundred years old now but I love Byron and those are two hundred, so its not simply the outdatedness of the work. My favorite? "Wind and Window Flower" struck me immediately as something different. The first of seven stanzas below. Lovers, forget your love, And list to the love of these, She a window flower, And he a winter breeze.

  • Sharayu Gangurde
    2018-11-28 13:48

    I loved this collection of poems. He writes about nature and its many elements in such a meaningful candour.'A late walk'enthralled me with these lines:-A tree beside the wall stands bare,But a leaf that lingered brown,Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,Comes softly rattling down.I end not far from my going forthBy picking the faded blueOf the last remaining aster flowerTo carry again to you.I love his description of the vivid imagery from his times. Today, it is a miracle if we come across acres of green fields and spend a moment to appreciate and revel in it. That's why for us, poetry is such an escape in our glass tower realities in present day.

  • Ferris
    2018-12-03 19:47

    I wish old Rob were more profound in my mind, but I guess I'm one of those who subscribes to what he himself claimed, that the meaning of his poetry is the surface-level subject matter. I admire that transparency, and some of his prose, but lightly flouncy wording with only occasional sparks of deep emotion makes for more of a tense snooze than a relaxed read.

  • Steven Logan
    2018-11-16 21:17

    I'm not a big fan of what he is spewing, but his form of narrative is impressive.

  • Ana
    2018-11-13 17:14

    Blueberries"You ought to have seen what I saw on my way To the village, through Mortenson's pasture to-day: Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb, Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum In the cavernous pail of the first one to come! And all ripe together, not some of them green And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!" "I don't know what part of the pasture you mean." "You know where they cut off the woods--let me see-- It was two years ago--or no!--can it be No longer than that?--and the following fall The fire ran and burned it all up but the wall." "Why, there hasn't been time for the bushes to grow. That's always the way with the blueberries, though: There may not have been the ghost of a sign Of them anywhere under the shade of the pine, But get the pine out of the way, you may burn The pasture all over until not a fern Or grass-blade is left, not to mention a stick, And presto, they're up all around you as thick And hard to explain as a conjuror's trick." "It must be on charcoal they fatten their fruit. I taste in them sometimes the flavour of soot. And after all really they're ebony skinned: The blue's but a mist from the breath of the wind, A tarnish that goes at a touch of the hand, And less than the tan with which pickers are tanned." "Does Mortenson know what he has, do you think?" "He may and not care and so leave the chewink To gather them for him--you know what he is. He won't make the fact that they're rightfully his An excuse for keeping us other folk out." "I wonder you didn't see Loren about." "The best of it was that I did. Do you know, I was just getting through what the field had to show And over the wall and into the road, When who should come by, with a democrat-load Of all the young chattering Lorens alive, But Loren, the fatherly, out for a drive." "He saw you, then? What did he do? Did he frown?" "He just kept nodding his head up and down. You know how politely he always goes by. But he thought a big thought--I could tell by his eye-- Which being expressed, might be this in effect: 'I have left those there berries, I shrewdly suspect, To ripen too long. I am greatly to blame.'" "He's a thriftier person than some I could name." "He seems to be thrifty; and hasn't he need, With the mouths of all those young Lorens to feed? He has brought them all up on wild berries, they say, Like birds. They store a great many away. They eat them the year round, and those they don't eat They sell in the store and buy shoes for their feet." "Who cares what they say? It's a nice way to live, Just taking what Nature is willing to give, Not forcing her hand with harrow and plow." "I wish you had seen his perpetual bow-- And the air of the youngsters! Not one of them turned, And they looked so solemn-absurdly concerned." "I wish I knew half what the flock of them know Of where all the berries and other things grow, Cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top Of the boulder-strewn mountain, and when they will crop. I met them one day and each had a flower Stuck into his berries as fresh as a shower; Some strange kind--they told me it hadn't a name." "I've told you how once not long after we came, I almost provoked poor Loren to mirth By going to him of all people on earth To ask if he knew any fruit to be had For the picking. The rascal, he said he'd be glad To tell if he knew. But the year had been bad. There had been some berries--but those were all gone. He didn't say where they had been. He went on: 'I'm sure--I'm sure'--as polite as could be. He spoke to his wife in the door, 'Let me see, Mame, we don't know any good berrying place?' It was all he could do to keep a straight face. "If he thinks all the fruit that grows wild is for him, He'll find he's mistaken. See here, for a whim, We'll pick in the Mortensons' pasture this year. We'll go in the morning, that is, if it's clear, And the sun shines out warm: the vines must be wet. It's so long since I picked I almost forget How we used to pick berries: we took one look round, Then sank out of sight like trolls underground, And saw nothing more of each other, or heard, Unless when you said I was keeping a bird Away from its nest, and I said it was you. 'Well, one of us is.' For complaining it flew Around and around us. And then for a while We picked, till I feared you had wandered a mile, And I thought I had lost you. I lifted a shout Too loud for the distance you were, it turned out, For when you made answer, your voice was as low As talking--you stood up beside me, you know." "We sha'n't have the place to ourselves to enjoy-- Not likely, when all the young Lorens deploy. They'll be there to-morrow, or even to-night. They won't be too friendly--they may be polite-- To people they look on as having no right To pick where they're picking. But we won't complain. You ought to have seen how it looked in the rain, The fruit mixed with water in layers of leaves, Like two kinds of jewels, a vision for thieves."

  • Joe
    2018-11-26 20:03

    A Boy's Will was nice but I didn't care for North of Boston

  • Cheryl Gatling
    2018-11-12 16:56

    This book contains Robert Frost's first two published books of poetry, the first, A Boy's Will, published in 1913, and the second, North of Boston, published in 1914. Reading the two of them together is like watching one of those time-lapse videos of the growth of a seed. Before our eyes, Victorian poetry morphs into modern poetry.A Boy's Will contains numerous old-fashioned elements: sing-song rhythm and persistent rhyme, archaic diction ("o'er" for "over," "vale" for "valley," "list" for "listen,"), inversions of syntax ("I know not who," "the maidens pale," "in the orchard white,"), the personification of natural forces as sentient spirits, as the personification of "My Sorrow" in "My November Guest, or the personification of the "Wind and Window Flower" as separated lovers. And there are fairies (yes, fairies, in "Spoils of the Dead"). And a long fantasy about souls in heaven waiting to be born as babies.Frost is here, in his treatment of mostly country themes: picking flowers, mowing with a scythe. There are some here that I like. "The Tuft of Flowers" with its philosophical musing on isolation versus community. But none of this sounds like Frost. It sounds like Tennyson, or one of the lesser Romantics.In the second volume, North of Boston, boom, there he is, fully formed, speaking the sound of speech, reams of blank verse, only rarely rhymed. There is the great "Mending Wall," the great "Death of the Hired Man," the great "Home Burial," and the great "After Apple Picking," all of them steeped in local color, but resonating with universal human themes of love and grief and mortality.There are also some lesser known poems that made me wonder just what he was getting at. In "The Generations of Men," distant cousins flirt with each other at a family reunion. At least it sounds like flirting to me. What is that supposed to be about? And "The Self-Seeker," where a man who has been crippled in an industrial accident is being paid off by the company. And "A Hundred Collars," where two men share a hotel room, wary of each other. What was it about these scenarios that fascinated Frost enough to labor over them?Even in the poems I considered lesser poems, there is still the wonderful sound. When I was a child, I had a paperback volume of Frost's selected poems, which had been my mother's, that I kept by my bed, and read and re-read. Before I knew anything about iambic pentameter, the sound of them wormed into me, and just sounded "right." I learned many of them by heart without half trying. I used to be able to recite the whole of Mending Wall.But reading these poems now, beyond the poetry of it, I was struck with the anthropology of it. The life of Frost's country people is in a large part vanished, although not entirely. It is interesting to read about how people lived and worked in hard circumstances and isolation. There are attitudes about religion in "The Black Cottage," social expectations of morality in "The Housekeeper," attitudes about mental illness in "A Servant to Servants," and the poverty of a family living by foraging in "Blueberries."These narratives are like little stories, even more like little plays, with actors speaking their lines. And the stories fascinate, and are a pleasure to read.

  • ZaRi
    2018-11-21 19:52

    Back out of all this now too much for us,Back in a time made simple by the lossOf detail, burned, dissolved, and broken offLike graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,There is a house that is no more a houseUpon a farm that is no more a farmAnd in a town that is no more a town.The road there, if you'll let a guide direct youWho only has at heart your getting lost,May seem as if it should have been a quarry -Great monolithic knees the former townLong since gave up pretense of keeping covered.And there's a story in a book about it:Besides the wear of iron wagon wheelsThe ledges show lines ruled southeast-northwest,The chisel work of an enormous GlacierThat braced his feet against the Arctic Pole.You must not mind a certain coolness from himStill said to haunt this side of Panther Mountain.Nor need you mind the serial ordealOf being watched from forty cellar holesAs if by eye pairs out of forty firkins.As for the woods' excitement over youThat sends light rustle rushes to their leaves,Charge that to upstart inexperience.Where were they all not twenty years ago?They think too much of having shaded outA few old pecker-fretted apple trees.Make yourself up a cheering song of howSomeone's road home from work this once was,Who may be just ahead of you on footOr creaking with a buggy load of grain.The height of the adventure is the heightOf country where two village cultures fadedInto each other. Both of them are lost.And if you're lost enough to find yourselfBy now, pull in your ladder road behind youAnd put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.Then make yourself at home. The only fieldNow left's no bigger than a harness gall.First there's the children's house of make-believe,Some shattered dishes underneath a pine,The playthings in the playhouse of the children.Weep for what little things could make them glad.Then for the house that is no more a house,But only a belilaced cellar hole,Now slowly closing like a dent in dough.This was no playhouse but a house in earnest.Your destination and your destiny'sA brook that was the water of the house,Cold as a spring as yet so near its source,Too lofty and original to rage.(We know the valley streams that when arousedWill leave their tatters hung on barb and thorn.)I have kept hidden in the instep archOf an old cedar at the watersideA broken drinking goblet like the GrailUnder a spell so the wrong ones can't find it,So can't get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn't.(I stole the goblet from the children's playhouse.)Here are your waters and your watering place.Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.

  • Daniella
    2018-11-10 18:58

    I tried really hard to like A Boy's Will/North of Boston. Robert Frost is such a celebrated poet that I almost felt that anything less than absolute adoration would be blasphemy. And he did author a few of my favorite poems, so I went into it with high expectations.Frost truly was an amazing poet. He was a powerful poet. You read the words on the page, and suddenly you're standing in lush green fields, surrounded by flowers. And you can feel the breeze, you can smell the air, you can see the girl in her gray dress or the men at work in the fields.You see the flowers.You smell the flowers.Flowers, flowers, flowers.And then there are some more flowers.Or maybe some blueberries.Shit, I don't know. But god, it's all so pretty, isn't it?If pretty is your thing, and if you like perfectly metered and rhyming couplets, then you'll probably love A Boy's Will/North of Boston. But, personally, it just didn't do it for me.

  • Kevin Albrecht
    2018-11-22 20:00

    These were Robert Frost's first two books of poetry. As his first works, they seem a fitting place to begin studying Frost. Frost reminds me of William Blake, in that his poems are deceptively simple, using straight end-rhyme frequently. Again like Blake, his rhyme hides beneath it deep meaning. My favorite poem from A Boy's Will is "Stars".The second book, North of Boston, is very different from the first. It contains narrative poems usually around three to five pages long. The most famous of these is the great "Mending Wall", and I also liked "After Apple-Picking". One of the things that I like about this collection, is that these poems are almost short stories, each bringing you into the little world that it is part of.The poems here are not groundbreaking, but it has inspired me to continue reading Frost in the future.

  • Willie Krischke
    2018-12-08 16:16

    The first half, "A Boy's Will," was better than the second, "North of Boston." ABW are romantic poems, about nature, love, and death, in the grand tradition of Wordsworth et al. They ostensibly follow the couse of a boy's life/coming of age.The second half, or second book, I didn't like much. Most of the poems are hardly poems at all; they're more like short stories written with line breaks. Some of the stories/poems were interesting, some I just couldn't care about. There were a few more "poemy" poems, like Mending Wall and After Apple Picking, but they're the same poems you find in anthologies, so nothing much gained here.I would guess that Frost published better books than these later in his career.

  • Matt
    2018-11-18 19:53

    This one was definitely hit and miss for me. I have to say, of the two books in this bind-up, I definitely preferred A Boy's Will. Within both, though, I found some poems that I really enjoyed and some poems that I really didn't care for. I found there to be a certain simplicity, or rather directness, to Frost's verse. Sometimes this was refreshing, allowing him to express beauty without being weighed down by superfluous embellishment. But I also found myself wanting Frost to be more expressive, explore more detail, and write more whimsically; I found his verse sometimes flat. All in all, I'd say A Boy's Will is worth a read, but North of Boston? Not so much.

  • David
    2018-11-29 21:12

    I am not much of a poet nor do I know much about poetry, but I did enjoy my first skim of this. I read most of the poems 2 or more times and then marked the ones I liked so that i'd read them again. I found the economy of words to be so amazing in much of this work that as a writer, i found myself looking at the nuts and bolts as much as any duality that existed in the poem. If you like nature, you'll Love Frost. And, if you're ever at a cocktail part and can successfully quote frost, you must be the most urbane person in the room.

  • Grant
    2018-12-09 18:01

    frost is not just a poet i like to read, but for me he is an important poet. along with wallace stevens and william carlos williams, his poetry gives me the sense that i am part of a collective that is america even if it is not actually true. and i do not mean that in a patriotic sense, but in the sense that deep down we do share sense of aesthetics through spans of generations. also i think the reason he is so popular and so widely read is because his poems are so well crafted and bear a distict and timeless voice.

  • Ahmed
    2018-12-02 17:01

    I have to admit, Frost is one of my favorite poets. The road not taken , Britches, and other poems just fascinate the mind and the soul. He gets you inside the woods and leave there to figure out a lot about life. I scanned through the whole thing and read what I liked the most and then reread them again. Every time and then I go back and have sometime reading some of his poems. I miss Frost and Poe. When people say poetry gives one pleasure I think of Poe and Frost.

  • Lyl Lyl
    2018-12-10 16:54

    There were some very good concepts in the book, and a lot of it was good, but my problem were the short stories that filled up almost all of North of Boston, which, had very abrupt endings, with conclusions left unfound. It was actually frustrating to me to start thinking about something the people in the short story were discussing, to have everything suddenly cut off, over and over again. Almost every one is like that. Other than that, though, as I said, most of it was good.

  • Patrick
    2018-11-28 15:15

    This was the little Dover book I bought once after selling back my textbooks and really started my love of Robert Frost. Just reread it. I really did have to slow down and get back in the groove of close reading, but I enjoyed this again. Too much wistfulness, but in a good way. A dose of contentedness with life as well, and some nice moments of love and wonder.

  • Dayna Smith
    2018-11-25 21:13

    A charming collection of Frost's poems originally published in 1913 & 1914 respectively. A great introduction to Frost and contains some of his finest poems i.e. "Mending Wall", "After Apple-Picking", and "The Death of a Hired Man".

  • James
    2018-11-22 16:56

    Two collections of poems by Robert Frost. North of Boston has a number of longer, narrative poems I really appreciate. A boy's Will is more focused on nature. Both are good but North of Boston is better.

  • Angus Stirling
    2018-11-17 18:02

    'Three foggy mornings and one rainy day will rot the best birch fence a man can build.' If you enjoy a wealth of traditional rustic imagery as metaphors for life and death, you'll love this book. I do not.

  • Samantha
    2018-11-25 18:52

    I like fronst. Poems are short and don't rely on an indepth knowledge of the classics. I hate when poets seem to be trying to prove how smart and well read they are. Frost paints a picture of life and emotion. It's not melodramtic... because life doesn't have to be to have remarkable moments.

  • Crista
    2018-11-29 22:14

    I really enjoyed A Boy's Will but I think North of Boston was challenging to finish--I'm not sure if it just didn't interest me as much, or if it was too sophisticated for me. The imagery in A Boy's Will is top notch, though!

  • ben adam
    2018-11-25 19:15

    Why was anyone ever into Frost? I know these were his first two books, but seriously? The first one is so bland. I couldn't follow it. The second had its moments but was more like a series of extremely short plays. Anyway, not great.

  • Carmelo Valone
    2018-12-11 20:00

    I don't feel like my judgements of someone as amazing/legendary would ever have any sort of deeper testimony of his artistry. What we have here...young Frost at his best....or the start of his best. His topics shatter youth. Try'll like it.