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After his father’s death of tuberculosis in 1885, when young Frost was 11, the family left California and settled in Massachusetts. Frost attended high school there, entered Dartmouth College, but remained less than one semester. Returning to Massachusetts, he taught school and worked in a mill and as a newspaper reporter. A year later he married Elinor White, with whom he had shared valedictorian honors at Lawrence High School. From 1897 to 1899, he attended Harvard College as a special student but left without a degree.
In 1912, at the age of 38, he sold the farm and used the proceeds to take his family to England, where he could devote himself entirely to writing. His efforts to establish himself and his work were almost immediately successful. A Boy’s Will was accepted by a London publisher and brought out in 1913, followed a year later by North of Boston. Favorable reviews on both sides of the Atlantic resulted in American publication of the books by Henry Holt and Company, Frost’s primary American publisher, and in the establishing of Frost’s transatlantic reputation. Much of his poetry is concerned with how people interact with their environment, and though he saw the beauty of nature, he also saw its potential dangers. Frost disliked free verse, which was popular with many writers of his time, and instead used traditional metrical and rhythmical schemes. He often wrote in the standard meter of blank verse, but ran sentences over several lines so that the poetic meter plays subtly under the rhythms of natural speech. Frost listened to the speech in his country world north of Boston, and he recorded it. He had what he called “The ruling passion in man … a gregarious instinct to keep together by minding each other’s business.” Frost continued to mind his neighbors’ speech and business in his volume Mountain Interval (1916), which included the poems “The Road Not Taken”, “An Old Man’s Winter Night”, “Birches” and more.
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