19 pages 38 minutes read

Robert Frost

Acquainted with the Night

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1928

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Historical Context

Frost expatriated into the London literary scene, and he responded to its aesthetic freedoms both during and after World War I. He understood, and responded to, the poetry the younger writers were rejecting outright in ways they did not comprehend. Rhyme and rhythms were projected as hobgoblins that tied the poet to predetermined patterns of expression and dismissed entirely the concept that metered verse was an art unto itself. Frost, then in his forties, had grown up seeing the comfort that the wisdom poetry of the Gilded Age/Victorian writers brought to an emerging generation of readers. He understood the reach of prosody and the ease with which it brought its themes to a mass market of readers who appreciated the clever turns of language and the intricate mastery of sounds and rhythms. One of Frost’s own favorite poems, the Gilded Age classic “Casey at the Bat,” recounted the dangers of pride and the foolishness of ego using a galloping beat that created urgency and, in turn, a clever rhyme scheme that made recitation and even memorization easy. These were poets of the people—hardly the young, scruffy bohemian poets who crowded the taverns and coffee houses of London’s West End, youngsters who dismissed such conventional poetry as sentimental doggerel.