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date: 31 March 2020

Frost, Robert (Lee)locked

  • John McLaughlin

Extract

(Lee)

(b San Francisco, March 26, 1874; d Boston, Jan 29, 1963). American poet. He attended Dartmouth College (1892) and Harvard University (1897–9), and then worked as a teacher and farmer in New Hampshire. From 1912 to 1915 he lived in England, where his first two books were published. He was poet-in-residence at Amherst (Massachusetts) College from 1916 to 1920. Over 30 composers have set his work, but Frost took little interest in their settings. He seemed to agree with W.B. Yeats's notion that poetry suffered from its association with music and rebelled against the assumption that the music of words was ‘a matter of harmonized vowels and consonants’. He wanted to make music out of what he called ‘the sound of sense’, which he later described as being like the sound of voices ‘behind a door that cuts off the words’.

Of those composers who have set Frost's poetry to music, Randall Thompson is one of the best known. It was suggested that he set Frost's ...

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