The Frost Place ❧ 2012 Poetry Programs

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I read and especially enjoy Robert Frost’s poetry. This information was just forwarded to me by the Frost Place.

Conference on Poetry and Teaching

June 24 – 28
$675, plus $100 for food
Scholarships and discounts available

Application deadline May 30
Financial assistance deadline April 15

eld each year in June, the Conference is a unique opportunity for teachers to work closely with their peers and with a team of illustrious poets who have particular expertise and enthusiasm for sharing poetry with young people.

Over the course of four and one-half days, faculty poets will present specific techniques for teaching poetry including sample exercises and prompts which teachers will be invited to try out and then discuss. Each day will offer sessions devoted to the participants sharing their own teaching ideas—a popular element in prior conferences. Certificate of completion includes thirty-three Continuing Education credits. Graduate level credits are available through Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

Festival and Conference on Poetry

July 15 – 21
$1,395
includes private room and all meals; other options available – see application form for details
Scholarships and discounts available

Application deadline June 15
Financial assistance deadline April 15

pend a week at “intensive poetry camp” with writers who are deeply committed to learning more about the craft of writing poetry. For thirty-plus years, the Festival and Conference on Poetry has been a daily immersion in listening, reflection, and conversation about the writing and reading of poetry. Each day, there is a faculty-led discussion class or talk on an aspect of craft; a three-hour workshop for all; a period of silence for reading poetry and time to generate and revise poems. Each night, we gather at the Henry Holt Barn (Frost’s actual barn) at The Frost Place for readings by faculty and guests. If you would like to spend a portion of July writing, revising, reading, learning, and having a wonderful time with other writers, please join us! Learn from a distinguished and accomplished faculty. Learn from a distinguished and accomplished faculty in community with other poets. Share your work in a special reading at the Henry Holt Barn at The Frost Place. Immerse yourself in poetry.

Advanced Seminar

August 8 – 13
$1,000 tuition includes 4 lunches and 6 dinners
Scholarships and discounts available

Application deadline July 15
Financial assistance deadline April 15

pend five days in August with a select community of poets exploring your artistic work in the context of a rich variety of poetry ancestors and contemporaries. Learn from a distinguished and accomplished faculty how poets choose, imitate, enter into dialogue with, and sometimes argue with the work of our poetic ancestors and contemporaries. Seminar participants will read their work on the final night of the Seminar in a special reading at The Henry Holt Barn at The Frost Place. This is a unique opportunity for dedicated poets to delve intensely into the poetic process. Seminar participants will have their poems in progress given generous and focused attention.

  • For more information on Scholarships and discounts, click here.

6 responses

  1. In defense of Amy’s husband in “Home Burial”

    One Rainy Day

    It was not easy to ignore the reality of death in the early twentieth century. In 1915 the infant mortality rate was over 90% greater than today. It was a fear that haunted women and the cruelty of its existence bore a heavy weight. For a New England farmer in the early 1900’s, an extended period of bereavement was an unreasonable luxury. With a short summer and a long, harsh winter, time was of the essence. In several of his poems, Robert Frost addresses the theme of death and the varying responses one might find within a family. In his poems, “Out, Out–” and “Death of the Hired Man,” Frost presents the more pragmatic view of death in which life seemingly moves forward seamlessly. In contrast, “Home Burial,” exposes the lives of bereaved parents and a marriage potentially destroyed by miscommunication, misunderstanding, anger, isolation and despair. On the surface, one blames the husband for his insensitivity, perhaps even abusive refusal to allow his wife, Amy, time to grieve for her first child. Amy views her husband as a heartless brute. A closer look reveals that Amy fails to take into account her husband’s feelings. Using him as an object of blame, it is she, who misinterprets her husband’s grieving process.
    At the onset, Frost sets us up to believe that the husband is an insensitive tyrant who refuses to allow his wife her grief for the loss of her first baby. His word choice suggests a husband who dominates over his wife with physical strength. He is watching her from the bottom of the stairs before he advances toward her. Frost could have said “coming to her” but his use of the word “advancing” brings to mind a military action. His next move toward his wife, Frost describes as mounting, which may have the double meaning of climbing or to place oneself upon as in mounting a horse or even could have a more sinister, forced sexual connotation. Next, in line 12, he demands: “I will find out now—you must tell me, dear.” From this information, one could agree with Amy that her husband is attempting to control her through the threat of physical force but, soon, observant readers are able to see that there is a more complex dynamic at play between this grief ridden couple.
    Initially, Frost uses words of dominance to describe the father of his deceased son and the words associated with Amy are those of a helpless victim: “Looking back over her shoulder at some fear” (3); “She took a doubtful step” (4); “She sank upon her skirts” (8); “she cowered under him” (11). It is not until line 13 that a hint of the underlying anger, defiance and passive aggressiveness begins to show itself:

    She, in her place, refused him any help,
    With the least stiffening of her neck and silence.
    She let him look, sure that he wouldn’t see,
    Blind creature; (13-16)

    While once under the impression that Amy’s husband is in control, one now see a shift of power. Her husband, now viewing from her vantage point, sees the small window framing his family’s graveyard and understands what she sees. There is a good chance that this was the house he grew up in and “the three stones of slate and one of marble, / Broad-shouldered little slabs there in the sunlight / On the sidehill” (26-28) are those of perhaps a sibling, his parents or grandparents; as familiar and as comforting as though they are merely sleeping in their own bedroom. In a way, they are still with him and he is “so wonted to it” that he takes it for granted. Clearly, he now understands that Amy is looking at “the child’s mound——” When she further withdraws “shrinking from beneath his arm” and giving him “such a daunting look,” that he says “twice over before he knew himself: “Can’t a man speak of his own child he’s lost?” (37). It is in this line that the young father’s humanity is realized and Amy’s lack of compassion and empathy is apparent.
    Begging her not to leave, and promising to do anything to help, it is clear that this is a man at a loss for acceptable words and actions:

    “My words are nearly always an offense.
    I don’t know how to speak of anything
    So as to please you. But I might be taught,
    I should suppose. (47-50)

    Her refusal to accept his offers and her further withdrawal from him frustrates him to the point of anger but he contains himself. Unable to see his more pragmatic point of view, Amy goes beyond disregarding her husband’s grief. She treats him as if he, himself, murdered the baby: “If you had any feelings, you that dug / With your own hand—how could you?—his little grave;” (76-77). Frost describes Amy’s perspective of the digging of the grave with words not commonly associated with the heaviness of grief but with happy words: “Making the gravel leap and leap in air, / Leap up, like that, like that, and land so lightly / And roll back down the mound beside the hole.” as though the father was enjoying the gruesome task. Amy saw the mud on his boots as stains, comparable in her mind to blood stains, and was offended by the spade, in her mind, the murder weapon, left standing in open sight, by the entry door. Her final assault comes when she entirely misinterprets his “talk about your everyday concerns… ‘Three foggy mornings and one rainy day / Will rot the best birch fence a man can build.’” (96-97).
    By the end of the poem, the reader realizes that the un-named husband has just come from burying his first baby in the family graveyard. Only moments before, he set the shovel by the back entry, walked into the kitchen, sat down to remove his muddied boots, only to find his wife acting in a peculiar manner. His vain and perhaps, ineffective attempts to help her overcome her grief only made matters worse. His crime was not the murder of their first child but a refusal to “carry sympathy to the point of going crazy just because someone else goes crazy, or of dying just because someone else dies.” (Frost). Through his quiet and equally profound grief, he understood that everything one worked to build could be lost in ‘three foggy mornings and one rainy day’.

    • Hi Michaelene, and Happy Easter. I reformatted your comment a bit. It’s enjoyable reading an interpretation that defends the husband. Many interpretations go so far as to imply that the husband is, in some way, violent or abusive. The interpretation you’ve given is the kind that argues for a given reading. Something I do in my own posts is to not only review the poetry, but also the criticism. I try to give an overview of ‘some’ criticism along with my own leanings and leave it to the reader to decide. That’s an approach I’d like you to consider, if you’re still interested in writing a post for the blog. You’ll have to remind me what your main interests are. :-)

  2. Hi Patrick, yes, I would love to write a post for the blog. I’m not exactly sure where to put it and I think this one is misplaced. I’ll keep your suggestions in mind. My interests have a wide range. Right now it’s Frost but will move on to something else I’m sure. What about literary movements?

    • Don’t worry about where to put it. I’ll take care of that. We’ll make a proper post out of it. Take a look at the Subverted Flower, by Frost, and let me know if you’d like to write about it.

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