The Most Misread Poem in America by David Orr [The Paris Review]
“And almost everyone gets it wrong. This is the most remarkable thing about “The Road Not Taken”—not its immense popularity (which is remarkable enough), but the fact that it is popular for what seem to be the wrong reasons. [...] Frost’s poem turns this expectation on its head. Most readers consider “The Road Not Taken” to be a paean to triumphant self-assertion (“I took the one less traveled by”), but the literal meaning of the poem’s own lines seems completely at odds with this interpretation. The poem’s speaker tells us he “shall be telling,” at some point in the future, of how he took the road less traveled by, yet he has already admitted that the two paths “equally lay / In leaves” and “the passing there / Had worn them really about the same.” So the road he will later call less traveled is actually the road equally traveled. The two roads are interchangeable.”[more inside]
The Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature at the Library of Congress dates back to 1943, when Allen Tate was Consultant in Poetry. It contains nearly two thousand recordings—of poets and prose writers participating in literary events at the Library’s Capitol Hill campus as well as sessions at the Library’s Recording Laboratory. Highlights from the collection include: Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Mario Vargas Llosa, Rita Dove, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, W.S. Merwin, Sandra Cisneros, Amy Clampitt, Robert Pinsky , and Miłosz, Czesław, among many others. [more inside]
Wind chill is vitally important information. Or is it a meaningless number useful only in making weather forecasts more dramatic? [more inside]
Joyce Carol Oates's new story about an imagined interview with Robert Frost has been called outrageous, even an attack on the poet. [note: story link opens a print dialog]
Voices and Visions explores -- through interviews, archival footage, and readings -- the lives and works of some of America’s greatest poets. Newsweek called the series "the most ambitious, most expensive and most accomplished series of films ever made about American poetry." Elizabeth Bishop 1::2::3 l T.S. Eliot 1::2::3::4 l Robert Frost 1::2::3 l Wallace Stevens 1::2 l William Carlos Williams 1::2 l Ezra Pound 1 l Langston Hughes 1::2 l Marianne Moore 1::2 l home
Dark Darker Darkest is an essay in this week's New Republic by Christopher Benfey on the newly published Notebooks of Robert Frost (here's a more conventional book review by Mark Ford in The Financial Times). Glyn Maxwell, a couple of years ago in the same publication, wrote a short article, Beautiful as He Did It, about Edward Thomas and his relationship with Frost. Should you want more direct contact with the famous poet, you can read Richard Poirier's 1960 interview with Frost that appeared in The Paris Review (pdf) or listen to him recite a few of his better known poems.
Online Audio Recordings: UC Berkeley Lectures and Events Including speeches by James Baldwin, Walter Blum, Malcolm X, and Noam Chomsky, to name a few.