Study Guide

Robert Frost Inauguration & Death

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Inauguration & Death

By the 1940s, Frost was undisputedly the grand master of American poetry. In 1943, he won his fourth and final Pulitzer Prize for the collection, A Witness Tree. Awards, honorary degrees, and teaching appointments at the country's finest universities were heaped upon him. In 1961, he was asked to read a poem at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, a great admirer of Frost's work. By then 86 years old, the poet's handling of an unexpected snafu at the event only cemented his stellar reputation. Frost wrote an original poem for the inauguration called "Dedication," but once on the dais he found that the blinding sun made it impossible for him to read the typed words. After stumbling through a line or two, Frost abandoned "Dedication" and recited from memory his poem "The Gift Outright," an elegy to the founding of America.

On 29 January 1963, Robert Frost died of complications from prostate surgery. He was 88 years old. He was buried in Bennington, Vermont, under a self-written epitaph that summed up his complicated relationship with life: "I had a lover's quarrel with the world."

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