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Lecture

Frost Poems


Department
English
Course Code
ENG201Y1
Professor
John Reibetanz

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ENG201Y1Y (Summer) – Reading Poetry – May 18th, 2011
Lecture #2
The Pastoral Perspective and Robert Frost
Pastoral Poetry
rural setting
Frost sets his poetry in rural New England
from the perspective of a farmer in order to show the entire world
moves from the specific to the universal
the pastoral poet implicitly argues that the larger world (politics, etc) has lost sight of its roots in
nature
The Pasture insists that we come too. He promises that we'll understand what's fundamental in
being human.
The pastoral is invitational. It invites us to come back to the place we've lost in poetry (verbally)
This is more than image, though. It's the way landscape forms through the nexus of images into
the symbol
The pastoral method brings these images into a globe/circle where the images are all connected
and opens into a vista of other meanings; the reader helps to create the poem through
interpretation
the poet is not simply a painter or taking us to a landscape with details. This simplicity propels
us beyond the literal; less is more
A calf vs. A small brown calf ----> Frost's simplicity vs. Details
The pastoral poet wants to help move to the larger world through rural life
Simplicity is functional in taking the leap into meaning
Metaphor
a symbol is a metaphor and a metaphor is a symbol
can be read on two levels:
the vehicle”: a collection of images. We have to go beyond
the tenor: meaning, implication, vision, symbolic factor
while reading, we're propelled to find the deeper meaning
the poem is enjoyable both literally and figuratively
contractions (“shan't) makes it feel informal, intimate; makes us comfortable on the literal level
makes the unfamiliar familiar (cows, farms vs. City people)
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening – Robert Frost
an anecdote
not descriptive; vague
alliteration (“deep and dark”)
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