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Robert Frost Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Frost and his future wife Elinor Miriam White were co-valedictorians at Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts.24

In December 2007, a gang of drunken teenagers vandalized Robert Frost's former home in Ripton, Vermont. The miscreants smashed windows, furniture, and antiques, and left behind a disgusting mess of bodily fluids. At their sentencing, the teenagers were ordered to do community service and to attend two classes with Frost expert and biographer Jay Parini.25

Frost's mother Isabelle was a Swedenborgian, a religion based on the teachings of Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. Followers believe that God revealed the meaning of the Scriptures directly to Swedenborg. Frost was baptized as a Swedenborgian in 1881 at his mother's insistence but he left the church as an adult.26

Frost was paid $15 for his first published poem, "My Butterfly," which appeared in the New York Independent in 1894.27

What a difference some fame makes: in 1912, as an unknown poet, Frost sent his poem "Reluctance" to Ellery Sedgwick, editor of The Atlantic Monthly, and was rejected. In 1915, after Frost's first two collections had earned critical praise, Sedgwick contacted him and asked to publish his poems.28

President John F. Kennedy quite the fan of Frost, but his first response to learning that Frost would speak at his inauguration was downright diva-esque. "He's a master of words and I'm going to be sure he doesn't upstage me," Kennedy told U.S. Representative Stewart Udall. "Let's not have him give any kind of a speech, or they'll remember what he said and not what I said. Maybe we can have him recite a poem."29

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