cover image The Collected Prose of Robert Frost

The Collected Prose of Robert Frost

Robert Frost, , edited by Mark Richardson. . Harvard/Belknap, $39.95 (375pp) ISBN 978-0-674-02463-2

Frost was a highly prolific if disorganized, writer of prose, penning pieces for newspapers, magazines and events that were never collected in book form during his life. Following The Notebooks of Robert Frost (2007), this volume brings together all the prose written for publication by America’s most famous poet—some previously unpublished, some long available in other editions—along with helpful notes by Richardson, professor of English at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. While many of these pieces are brief and of interest mostly to Frost scholars—such as a letter to the editor of Poetry praising a recent issue or multiple responses to magazines asking Frost to list his favorite books (“1—The Old Testament./ 2— 'The Odyssey,’ by Homer”)—there are many major pieces too, such as the well-known “The Figure a Poem Makes,” which includes Frost’s famous statement, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Also included is “The Last Refinement of Subject Matter: Vocal Imagination,” a treatise on the sentence as musical notation: “The sentence must never leave the reader in doubt for a moment as to how the voice is to be placed in it.” Frost’s earthy voice and rigorous intellect are on full display in this essential book for poetry lovers. (Jan.)