THE FROST FAMILY'S ADVENTURE IN POETRY by Lesley Lee Francis

THE FROST FAMILY'S ADVENTURE IN POETRY

Sheer Morning Gladness at the Brim
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The poet's granddaughter refutes the ``crude psychoanalytical'' interpretation of Frost proffered by Lawrance Thompson in his contentious biography and offers instead a picture of a generous, responsible, and playful father-poet. Drawing on family papers and the childhood notebooks and artwork of Robert Frost's four children between 1905 and 1915, Francis (the daughter of Frost's eldest, Lesley) captures the dynamics of a literary family, the ``symbiotic relationship'' among parents and children, the energy, nurturing, and fantasy that characterized the way Frost awakened the artist in each child. The book covers the early years in Derry, NH, and then in England, where Frost was first discovered: This was the ``halcyon'' period when, educated at home, the children were encouraged to write, draw, express themselves. They produced gift albums, pictures, poems, stories recounting adventures, games, scenery, and friendships in a ``haphazard'' and disorderly household where Frost did most of the cooking, teaching, and playing. From 1912 to 1915, the children, their friends, and parents contributed to a magazine they called the Bouquet that included pieces by Edward Thomas, the English journalist-critic and Frost's closest friend (the Frosts brought his son to America at the outbreak of WW I, in which Thomas was killed). This idyllic decade takes on particular poignancy in the context of the personal losses that followed, emphasized in the concluding chapter: Frost, a widower of 83, having lost a daughter to tuberculosis and a son to suicide, returns to England to accept honorary degrees from Oxford and Cambridge and to visit the cottages where he had lived as a young father and undiscovered poet. A credible and unsentimental story that illuminates Frost's personality, the quality of his life, the sources of his creativity, and the value of artistic education. (Illustrations and photos)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-8262-0945-9
Page count: 248pp
Publisher: Univ. of Missouri
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1994