FROST'S POETIC STYLE
INTRODUCTION: Robert Frost is one of the greatest American poets. He received more honours than any other contemporary literary figure in America. Four times he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He was given honorary degrees by more than forty colleges and universities.
SIMPLICITY AND CLARITY: Frost has won worldwide fame and recognition and has already established himself as a classic. The first thing that strikes the eye is the extreme simplicity of his poetry. He writes on the simplest themes in the most easy and simple manner. Due to this simplicity he is appreciated by the readers. They admire him and go to him again and again without any trouble. But a careful reading of his poems reveals that he is extraordinary, subtle and intricate. They have a rich texture and there we find layers within the layers of meaning.
SUGGESTIVENESS: Frost is a great artist with words. His words are carefully chosen both with reference to their sense and their sound. He revised and polished what he wrote. He tried to express himself with utmost economy. Due to this many of his lines have an epigrammatic terseness and condensation. They can easily be memorised and quoted. Frost was well learned but his diction is never burdened with learning. He is not obscure and difficult like T. S. Eliot. Like Wordsworth he uses simple, colloquial diction. His imagery is drawn from the most common and familiar object of nature. In short, Frost's language is simple but highly suggestive.
CONVERSATIONAL TONE: Frost wrote in the natural, everyday speech of New Englanders. Through a proper arrangement and choice of words, he tried to convey the sense of humour, pathos, hysteric anger and all kinds of effects. From this it becomes clear that the distinctive features of Frost's diction are first, conversational tone and secondly, this conversational tone is conversational. In conversation the tone, the inflections, the annotations, the accents vary from speaker to speaker. The conversational style used by Frost has this variety. It varies from character to character. Besides this, the speech syntax is broken and loose. In Frost's style we find parenthesis, freaks, ellipses, unfinished sentences, halting measures, sudden ejaculations, repetitions and abrupt openings. Sometimes the speaker has no patience to round off a sentence. He breaks it up at a point where he feels that his meaning is conveyed. At other times, the speaker is too much excited to complete his meaning and breaks in the middle.
REGIONAL LANGUAGE: Frost's conversational language is regional. He has succeeded in capturing the distinctive flavour and tone of Yankee speech. This regional touch is not imparted by the use of dialectic words. There are few dialectic or regional words in the poetry of Frost. The words he uses are the words that are in common use everywhere. The regional quality of his diction is seen not in the choice of words but in their arrangement. It is seen in his phrasing and idiom.
HANDLING OF RHYTHM: The conversational colloquial quality of Frost's poetry is also seen in his rhythms. Most of his poetry is cast in the traditional iambic metre. But variations are introduced subtly and skillfully. Frost has never tried his hand at free verse but his variations are wider. His handling of rhythm is distinctive. He is able to capture the casual and informal rhythm pattern of the spoken language.
FROST'S METRE: Frost is a great metrical artist. He is a great experimenter with stanzaic forms and verse forms. His skill is seen in his adoption old traditional metres to his own uses. He has experimented with odes, eclogues, satires, dramatic monologues and dialogues. He has employed ballad metre, sonnets, tereza rima, heroic couplets, blank verse and free invented forms. Frost avoids the formlessness and eccentricity of modern free verse and keeps the appropriate form and shape.
CONCLUSION: Thus frost is a great craftsman. He is a great metrical artist as well as a great artist with words. His contribution to the American poetry is remarkable.