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Robert Frost: Poet & Teacher

Upon returning to the United States, Frost purchased a farm in Franconia, New Hampshire. He soon accepted a teaching position at Amherst College, the first of many faculty appointments he held at American universities over the subsequent 45 years. Frost was almost as famous for teaching poetry as he was for writing it. When Frost accepted a summer teaching position in 1921 at the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, where he taught for the next 42 years, he became the first ever writer-in-residence at a university. Frost was a well-liked instructor, peppering his lectures with jokes and anecdotes and encouraging students to find their individual voice, although he complained heartily about the particulars of teaching. He hated grading students' work. When a student wrote on a course evaluation that he hadn't gotten a damned thing out of the class, Frost awarded him a B. It would have been an A, Frost told a friend, if the student hadn't misspelled "damned."15

By 1920 Frost had moved his family to a home in Shaftsbury, Vermont, where he set to work on a series of new poems. They were published in 1922 as the collection New Hampshire. This collection contained one of Frost's best-known poems, "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" (which he wrote in a burst of creativity in a single night, along with the poem "New Hampshire"). In sixteen lines that, on the surface, seemed to be about little more than a traveler's moment of rest, Frost touched on death, isolation, and things too big to name. The collection earned Frost his first Pulitzer Prize in 1923. From there, his career was off and running. A second Pulitzer came in 1931 for the book Collected Poems. He won his third in 1937 for the collection A Further Range.

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