Back “The Death of the Hired Man,” Robert Frost

Robert Frost (1874–1963)
From Robert Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays

Haymaking, undated, oil on canvas by American artist Dwight William Tryon (1849–1925). (Courtesy of The Athenaeum)

When chronic health problems forced Robert Frost to drop out of Harvard in 1899, his doctor recommended outdoor activity. So his grandfather purchased a twenty-acre farm for the future poet and his wife in Derry, New Hampshire, where they raised and bred chickens for nearly a decade. Frost still hoped to publish novels and stories; he wrote pieces for local agricultural papers and used his experiences on the farm to create several narrative poems, which he initially regarded as good preparation for writing fiction.

Frost never did write novels and stories—except for a handful of comic tales he wrote for local poultry journals. He decided instead to become a full-time poet, and one of his earliest supporters was the young Ezra Pound, whom Frost met while living in England. Eleven years younger, Pound was a key figure in Frost’s success—but by the time Frost returned to the United States, the two poets were barely speaking with each other. Visit our Story of the Week site to read more about their short-lived friendship, as well as “The Death of the Hired Man,” a poem Frost wrote while living on the farm—and the poem that started their first argument.

Read “The Death of the Hired Man” by Robert Frost

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