Study Guide

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening Calling Card

By Robert Frost

Calling Card

Nature, Quiet, and Absence

First of all, can we just point out what a cool name Robert Frost has? If that's not an ideal calling card, than we don't know what is. Imagine registering him for a driver's license or something:

Shmoop: Name?
Frost: Robert Frost.
Shmoop: Occupation?
Frost: I write poems about frost.
Shmoop: Really?
Frost: Yes.

OK, so maybe he doesn't write specifically about frost, but this poem sure has lots to do with frozen things. Robert Frost is known as the quintessential New England poet, and he often muses about the New England landscape and about nature. He lived on a farm for a good chunk of his life (by the way, you can visit Frost Farm if you are ever in Derry, New Hampshire). Things like trees, snow, walls, fences, tools, apples, shovels, and other farm-like items surface all of the time in his poems. He's interested in everyday tasks, and he likes to ruminate on how cool nature is. Can we blame him?

You might notice that Frost's language is also very everyday and colloquial. He hopes to capture the sounds and rhythms of natural human chatter in his poems, and he isn't too concerned with using formal, archaic, or distant language. That being said, many people have criticized Frost for not addressing modernity in his poems. There's an old school feeling to his work that some people love and that others do not.

There also often happens to be an absence of people in Frost's poems, thus creating a slightly spooky undertone. You'll know you are in a Frost poem when you feel like you should be looking over your shoulder, or when you get the sense that someone might be watching you.