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The Art of Robert Frost Paperback – October 8, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


"Clean and lucid--a delight to read - Kendall's readings are astute and well-tempered.  The book is not merely as a fine introduction to Frost, but also an anthology, informed by careful textual scholarship. Frost has found an ideal audience in Timothy Kendall."—Mark Richardson, Doshisha University
(Mark Richardson 2012-01-03)

“In Professor Kendall's generous selection from Frost's published collections, the voice of the critic is perfectly tuned to that of the poet. Kendall's 'readings' are lucid, persuasive, and blessedly jargon-free. One hopes that others will adopt his brilliant and innovative model when introducing other poets’ Selected Poems."—Jon Stallworthy, Oxford University
(Jon Stallworthy 2012-01-03)

"Tim Kendall's critical study of the poetry of Robert Frost gives the sustained close analysis that this great body of work has always deserved. Kendall quotes generously and he explains the structure and texture of individual poems with a subtlety that is equal to the imaginative demands of his subject."—David Bromwich, Yale University
(David Bromwich 2012-02-03)

“Tim Kendall brings a fresh look to Frost's poems in this combination of anthology and critical study.”—Shelf Awareness (Shelf Awareness)

“[A] joyous new book…an insightful glimpse into 65 of Frost’s most notable poems as well as homage to another era.”—Deseret News
(Deseret News)

“Kendall’s book is an unusual hybrid, part anthology, part critical study: 65 poems with two or three pages of understated, illuminating commentary about each. It’s a good way to revisit Frost—and, per Frost, revisiting him is precisely what we should do.”—Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine’s

“Kendall is a masterful critic and teacher. Any fan or student of Robert Frost or of poetry in general should pick this up immediately.”—Library Journal
(Library Journal)

“One hopes [this book] will become a model for scholars. Essential.”—Choice


"[An} immensely pleasurable anthology… Tim Kendall’s commentary is exemplary: locally attentive and widely informed, it should prove both helpful to the newcomer and a good companion to those many readers for whom these striking poems are already a part of their inner landscape."—Seamus Perry, Times Literary Supplement
(Seamus Perry Times Literary Supplement 2013-01-04)

 Runner-Up in the Poetry Category at the 2012 New England Book Festival.
(Poetry Category Runner-Up New England Book Festival 2013-01-22)

Finalist  for the 2013 New England Society Book Awards in the Nonfiction category.
(Book Award New England Society 2013-04-02)

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2012 for English and American within the Humanities category.
(Outstanding Academic Title Choice 2013-05-24)

Runner-up, Poetry category at the 2013 New York Book Festival sponsored by JM Northern Media LLC.
(New York Book Festival JM Northern Media LLC 2013-06-10)

“A useful and intelligent book . . . a fine introduction to Frost and a thoughtful work of criticism.”—Adam Plunkett, New Republic (Adam Plunkett New Republic)

About the Author

Tim Kendall is professor of English literature and Head of English, University of Exeter. He lives in Devon.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300198272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300198270
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,371,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before this book, my exposure to the poetry of Robert Frost had been limited to a few poems from anthologies and a high school English class - poems such as "Mending Wall", "The Road Not Taken", and "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Given that background, my impression was that Frost wrote short, moderately elusive, parable-like poems that perhaps were a little precious. Moreover, I tended to think of him as a regional poet - a crusty New Englander. After reading THE ART OF ROBERT FROST, my impression of Frost has been radically overhauled - he is a great poet.

THE ART OF ROBERT FROST contains 65 poems by Frost, as selected by Tim Kendall. All but ten of the poems are from Frost's first four books of poetry (published between 1913 and 1923), paralleling the consensus view that his strongest work was done in the early years of his career. Following each poem Kendall provides a commentary or gloss, of one to four pages. These commentaries are excellent. They not only explore and explicate the poem at hand, but they also relate it to other Frost poems and place it within the context of Frost's work as a whole, and often they incorporate comments from other literary critics. Occasionally Kendall is a little too cute, or indulges too much in clever connections that didn't really enhance my understanding. But he avoids coming across as pretentious, and his commentary is intelligent without being academic or pedantic. Indeed, I wish there were more books like Kendall's focusing on the works of a particular poet.

Perhaps the central theme of Kendall's presentation of Frost's poetry is how it reflects Frost's fondness for "ulteriority" -- "saying one thing and meaning another, saying one thing in terms of another.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David R. Anderson on November 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"The Need of Being Versed in Country Things", the title of the final poem in Robert Frost's 1923 collection titled "New Hampshire" makes a good starting point to talk about Tim Kendall's new book. Frost found every thing he needed for his art in country things, in the lives of country people and their small towns, their farm lands and animals. His verses, so plain in speech, the poet so loath to use a fancy word, get right to the nub of the matter.

Discussing "Hyla Brook," the poem Frost ends with the line "We love the things we love for what they are," Kendall says Frost's "poetry will valorize the modest and the local, and will refuse hyperbole as it shows its commitment through memory to the valued springs of its inspiration." This is typical of the way Kendall approaches Frost.

He concerns himself with 65 poems in all, including all the poems in "North of Boston" (1915), the book that established Frost's place in American letters. "The Pasture" and "Mending Wall" and "The Death of the Hired Man" and "After Apple Picking" are included. As he does with all the poems, Kendall provides his reading of the poem following the text. Of "The Pasture" he says that on its face, the poem is "[a] beguiling invitation to accompany the poet on an excursion into the landscape of his work" - "I'm going out to clean the pasture spring . . .I sha'n't be gone long. - You come too." And then Kendall asserts that it is much more complex than that, it is a poem "steeped in classical education. Just as Greek antiquity associated the Muses with springs, so Frost locates and tends the pastoral source of his poetic inspiration in his own `pasture spring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Aloysius on December 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a long time fan of the poetry of Robert Frost and have about ten different books about Frost and his poetry. Tim Kendall's book is the latest addition to my collection and perhaps the most enjoyable. Kendall has done a marvelous and insightful job in his selection of of poems and in his comments and research on each work. The book is a delight. It helped me find new treasures in the many layers of Frost's poems and inspired me to look even deeper into the craft of the poet's work.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John H. Buck on October 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a delightful selection of Frost's best poems including all of his classics. Each is followed by a short and lucid commentary by Kendall. These provide an insight into the meaning and method of each poem and are, for the most part, non-academic and comprehensible to the non-specialist. It is an intelligent and fun read if you like Frost.
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