On the Sonnets of Robert Frost

A Critical Examination of the 37 Poems

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About the Book

“The sonnet is the strictest form I have behaved in, and only then by pretending it wasn’t a sonnet,” Frost once wrote to Louis Untermeyer. Frost wrote his sonnets in couplets, triplets, and terza rima; frequently, he combined elements of the Italian and English forms. His genuis was in incorporating diverse styles, renewing reader interest in the form while retaining its accessibility. Several of the sonnets discussed are generally recognized as among the finest poems written in the twentieth century.
This is the first work to examine all the 37 poems published that are, based on the poet’s own prose writings on the subject, defined as true sonnets. It also provides a discussion of why some Frost works commonly accepted as sonnets do not meet his own criteria. Of course, the book provides content analyses of the sonnets with discussions of the various structures used.

About the Author(s)

H.A. Maxson’s poetry has appeared widely in journals and anthologies, and he is also the author of five other books: a novel and four collections of poetry. He lives in Milford, Delaware.

Bibliographic Details

H.A. Maxson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 157
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1997]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2420-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction     1

1 “An arrest of disorder”: Frost’s Forms and Themes     13
2 Into My Own: The Sonnets of A Boy’s Will     21
3 Range-Finding: The Sonnets of Mountain Interval     35
4 On a Tree…: The Sonnet of New Hampshire     51
5 Acquainted with the Night: The Sonnets of West-Running Brook     59
6 The Master Speed: The Sonnets of A Further Range     85
7 The Silken Tent: The Sonnets of A Witness Tree     101
8 Etherealizing: The Sonnets of Steeple Bush     113
9 Despair: Other Sonnets     127

Bibliography     145
Index     147

Book Reviews & Awards

“useful…recommended…indispensable for Frost studies”—Choice; “it’s one of those landmarks in Frost criticism that still come along once in awhile”—Tar River Poetry.