He exploded on the scene after returning from England at the beginning of World War I. He died of complications from prostate surgery on January 29, Frost was born on March 26, , in San Francisco, California. He spent the first 11 years of his life there, until his journalist father, William Prescott Frost Jr. Following his father's passing, Frost moved with his mother and sister, Jeanie, to the town of Lawrence, Massachusetts.
They moved in with his grandparents, and Frost attended Lawrence High School. After high school, Frost attended Dartmouth College for several months, returning home to work a slew of unfulfilling jobs. Beginning in , Frost attended Harvard University but had to drop out after two years due to health concerns. He returned to Lawrence to join his wife. In , Frost moved with his wife and children to a farm in New Hampshire — property that Frost's grandfather had purchased for them—and they attempted to make a life on it for the next 12 years.
Though it was a fruitful time for Frost's writing, it was a difficult period in his personal life, as two of his young children died. During that time, Frost and Elinor attempted several endeavors, including poultry farming, all of which were fairly unsuccessful. Despite such challenges, it was during this time that Frost acclimated himself to rural life.
In fact, he grew to depict it quite well, and began setting many of his poems in the countryside. Frost met his future love and wife, Elinor White, when they were both attending Lawrence High School. She was his co-valedictorian when they graduated in In , Frost proposed to White, who was attending St. Lawrence University , but she turned him down because she first wanted to finish school.
Frost then decided to leave on a trip to Virginia, and when he returned, he proposed again. By then, White had graduated from college, and she accepted. They married on December 19, White died in Diagnosed with cancer in and having undergone surgery, she also had had a long history of heart trouble, to which she ultimately succumbed.
Frost and White had six children together. Their first child, Elliot, was born in Daughter Lesley was born in Elliot died of cholera in After his death, Elinor gave birth to four more children: son Carol , who would commit suicide in ; Irma , who later developed mental illness; Marjorie , who died in her late 20s after giving birth; and Elinor , who died just weeks after she was born.
He could not find any publishers who were willing to underwrite his other poems. In , Frost and Elinor decided to sell the farm in New Hampshire and move the family to England, where they hoped there would be more publishers willing to take a chance on new poets. It was at this time that Frost met fellow poets Ezra Pound and Edward Thomas, two men who would affect his life in significant ways. Pound and Thomas were the first to review his work in a favorable light, as well as provide significant encouragement. Frost credited Thomas's long walks over the English landscape as the inspiration for one of his most famous poems, "The Road Not Taken.
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Apparently, Thomas's indecision and regret regarding what paths to take inspired Frost's work. The time Frost spent in England was one of the most significant periods in his life, but it was short-lived. When Frost arrived back in America, his reputation had preceded him, and he was well-received by the literary world.
His new publisher, Henry Holt, who would remain with him for the rest of his life, had purchased all of the copies of North of Boston. In , he published Frost's Mountain Interval , a collection of other works that he created while in England, including a tribute to Thomas.
Journals such as the Atlantic Monthly , who had turned Frost down when he submitted work earlier, now came calling. Frost famously sent the Atlantic the same poems that they had rejected before his stay in England. There, Frost began a long career as a teacher at several colleges, reciting poetry to eager crowds and writing all the while. Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry -- one of a very small handful of writers to have won so many -- and remains, a full half-century after his death in , one of the most celebrated and popular American literary voices of the 20th century.
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March 26, , in San Francisco and the artist with a series of photos made by Howard Sochurek in England in When year-old Robert Frost went to England this summer [LIFE told its readers] it was officially to receive that country's highest scholastic acclaim, honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge.
Unofficially, it was a fine opportunity for the famous American poet to "round off his life," as he put it, and revisit the peaceful haunts of Gloucestershire where he had lived as a younger man. In , unknown as a poet in the U. Accompanying him on his nostalgic return was LIFE's Howard Sochurek, who caught the poet reminiscing in scenes that inspired at least eight of his later works.
Back in the U. Frost's life was marked by enormous loss: only two of his and his wife Elinor's six children outlived him. Elinor died in Frost himself suffered from depression, as did several other members of his family. And yet he left behind a body of work as clear-eyed and as uplifting as that of any American writer before him, or since.
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