The Poetry Concierge Recommends: Robert Frost

[The Poetry Concierge is an occasional feature here on Rosemary and Reading Glasses wherein I select a poem, poet, or book of poems for individual readers based on a short questionnaire. Come play along! Read the introductory post here, my first recommendation here, and then email me at: rosemaryandreadingglasses [at] gmail [dot] com.]

This week, our pilgrim in search of poetry is Tania, who runs (along with Kirt) Write Readsa blog and Canadian reading book club podcast.

1. When you read fiction, who’s your go-to author?

I can only pick one? Okay, Margaret Laurence …but there are so many others!! 

2. If you read nonfiction, which subjects are most likely to interest you? (cultural history, science, biography, memoir, survival stories?)

Travel, Political/Social Commentary and anything by Bill Bryson.

3. If you were stuck on a desert island for a week, which five books would you bring to keep you entertained?

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Decameron by Boccacccio
The Rebel Angels by Robertson Davies

4. If you were on a five-year mission to Mars, which five books would you bring to keep you sane?

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town by Leacock
The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Asterios Polyp by Mazzuchelli

5. What kinds of questions are most likely to keep you up at night? (death, the nature of love, politics, environmental issues, meaning of life, end of the world, justice and injustice, etc?)

Meaning of life

6. If you’ve read poetry before, what have you liked? What have you disliked?

I’ve liked a lot of T.S. Eliot. I’ve liked more story-telling poems and less of the random images and symbols that I don’t understand poetry 🙂


Ok, so this is a tricky one, because I haven’t read any of the books that Tania lists! (Well, excerpts from The Decameron, and I’ve read one Bill Bryson book, but still.) However, with a little poking around, I got the sense that Tania likes well-developed characters, vignette-like structures, and a strong sense of place. It’s these last two qualities, in particular, that lead me to recommend that American poet everyone thinks he knows, Robert Frost.

Modern in sensibility, if not in form, Frost’s poetry is rooted in nature, and the woods of New England, in particular. Many of his poems read like vignettes, records of small moments in country life, whether everyday (“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”) or horrific (“‘Out, out–‘”). Darkness lurks around the edges of the very poems that are so often celebrated for their beauty and felicitous phrasing; isolation, death, and despair walk in the woods, too.

Take Robert Frost’s “The Wood-Pile”, which I think might be just right for Tania. The speaker is far from home, walking through a frozen swamp, and before we can wonder why, we’re distracted by the flighty bird that’s leading the speaker on, and then by the wood-pile, orderly but abandoned, out in the woods. There’s so much going on with that wood-pile that I’ll let you discover it for yourself.  I hope you’ll like this poem, Tania, and Robert Frost’s work, too!


Would you like the Poetry Concierge to make a recommendation for you? Check out the introductory post, and send your answers to the questionnaire, along with the name and/or blog you’d like posted with the reply, to rosemaryandreadingglasses [at] gmail [dot] com.

6 thoughts on “The Poetry Concierge Recommends: Robert Frost

  1. Pingback: The Poetry Concierge Nails It! | writereads

  2. Pingback: No Joke: The Poetry Concierge Returns – Rosemary and Reading Glasses

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