Happy Birthday, Robert Frost

One of the most famous American poets, Robert Frost, was born on March 26, 1874. If he were still alive today, he would be 139 years old!

Robert Frost with Birthday Cake

Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California, but he lived much of his life in New England starting at the age of 11. His family life was very sad because his father and his mother both died when Frost was young.

He first got interested in writing poetry when he was in high school, and he published his first professional poem in a newspaper when he was 20 years old. Frost had many different jobs after high school. At different times he was a farmer, a newspaper editor, a teacher, a factory worker, and even a cobbler (someone who repairs shoes). Frost became friends with another famous poet, Ezra Pound, during a brief period of time when they both lived in England.

Frost won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature four different times, and his work was very popular in the United States. When he was 86 years old, he was asked to read one of his poems at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.

One reason that Frost’s poetry became so well known is that he used simple, descriptive language that people can easily understand and remember. Many of his poems are about nature and the landscape of New England where Frost lived.

Robert Frost’s most famous poem is called “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The title describes what the poem’s narrator is doing—simply pausing for a few moments to watch the snow falling. Why do you think the last line of the poem is repeated?

Horse drawn sleigh
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.