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A Witness Tree

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  10 reviews
This collection was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1943. Most of the poems in this volume are short lyrics, published after several unfortunate tragedies had occurred in Frost's personal life, i.e. his daughter Marjorie's death in 1934, his wife's death in 1938, his son Carol's suicide in 1940. Despite these losses, Frost continued to work on his poetry and event ...more
91 pages
Published 1942 by H. Holt and Company
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Colin Andersen
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sublime poetry from a master. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lyrical poetry on our pointless existence. Or, as Frost puts it, a lover’s quarrel with the world.
Craig Werner
Jun 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: american-lit, poetry
One of the stranger of Frost's collections, A Witness Tree gets off to a strong start and then descends into a long sequence of Frost as his gnomic dullest. As I near the end of my re-reading of the complete Frost, I'm left wondering about how he put the collections together. Almost every collection follows a pattern something like this one (though Witness Tree is the most extreme). I like Frost best when he's most introspective, interrogating the relationship between world and mind, a process w ...more
Aug 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I don’t tend to read poetry in the original volumes in which is was published, so reading Robert Frost this way is very new to me. He won the Pulitzer Prize for this volume in 1943, and there are some themes here that I can see that might have contributed to this honor—the changing world, technology and nature, nation building—all things I imagine would have been very relevant as WW2 brewed in the States.

A Witness Tree doesn’t contain any of the Frost favorites that you were assigned in high sc
Cristina Chițu
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it
There is much in nature against us.

We’re either nothing or a God’s regret.

I hold your doctrine of Memento Mori.
And were an epitaph to be my story
I’d have a short one ready for my own.
I would have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.

A voice said, Look me in the stars
And tell me truly, men of earth,
If all the soul-and-body scars
Were not too much to pay for birth.
Robert's getting cranky and crotchety, the lovable poems getting fewer and further between, rhyming couplets losing their charm, usually a sucker for Frost's sonnets but can't count on automatically loving them any more ...


Happiness Makes Up In Height For What It Lacks In Length
Never Again Would Birds’ Song Be The Same

Clunkiest Clunkers:

The Gift Outright
The Lesson For Today
Lawrence Hall
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A WITNESS TREE is a good setting for its perfect jewel, "The Lesson for Today."

An excellent commentary:
Marion Wang
May 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length
Michael Arnold
Feb 27, 2015 rated it liked it
It took me some time to read this collection thanks to other commitments, so I can't say what it is like as a full collection together; but there are some really great poems here. Even if I'm not really a fan of 'The Gift Outright'. ...more
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Flinty, moody, plainspoken and deep, Robert Frost was one of America's most popular 20th-century poets. Frost was farming in Derry, New Hampshire when, at the age of 38, he sold the farm, uprooted his family and moved to England, where he devoted himself to his poetry. His first two books of verse, A Boy's Will (1913) and North of Boston (1914), were immediate successes. In 1915 he returned to the ...more

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“But no, I was out for stars:
I would not come in.
I meant not even if asked,
And I hadn't been.”
“Who would you be, I wonder, by those marks If I had moths to friend as I have flowers?” 2 likes
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