"Every poem," Robert Frost declared, "is an epitome of the great predicament, a figure of the will braving alien entanglements". This study considers what Frost meant by those entanglements, how he braved them in his poetry, and how he invited his readers to do the same. In the process it contributes significantly to a new critical awareness of Frost as a complex artist who anticipated postmodernism - a poet who invoked literary traditions and conventions frequently to set himself in tension with them. Using the insights of reader-response theory, Judith Oster explains the ways in which Frost is both attractive and difficult. She argues that he appeals to readers with his apparent accessibility and then, because of the openness of his poetry's possibilities, engages them in the process of constructing meaning. Through extensive commentaries on individual poems - among them "Storm Fear", "Spring Pools", "The Silken Tent", "Range-Finding", "Maple" and "Gathering Leaves" - Oster sheds light on a variety of Frost's methods and concerns.
Her discussion ranges from the ways in which the poet dramatizes the inadequacy of the self alone to the manner in which he "reads" the book of Genesis, or the writings of Emerson. Oster illuminates, finally, the central conflict in Frost: his need to be read well against his fear of being read: his need to share his creation against his fear of its appropriation by others. In grappling with the poet's ambiguities and complexities, this book "braves" the entanglement that is Robert Frost and meets him on the ground that is his poetry.
Publisher: University of Georgia Press