by Nancy Bo Flood on December 4, 2012


Catch a snowflake – on the flat of your hand, or maybe on the tip of your tongue.

Remember what it is like to stand on the edge of the woods on a snowy evening and feel the chill, sense the hush.

Robert Frost’s STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING is a beautiful book of images created by Susan Jeffers.  The book’s design is a marvel of surprises.  Susan Jeffers’ paintings evoke Frost’s snow-laden world.  Images unfold as the winter world of Frost is shown in softly muted colors of gray and white with surprises of color.  The poem becomes especially accessible to young readers as we follow the curious creatures of the woods, the activities of the children in the house by the woods, and especially the bundled-up “grandpa” even as he stops to make angels in the snow.  This book is a lovely gift to introduce a young reader to the joyful evocative poem given to us by Robert Frost.

“He gives his harness bells a shake,

to ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sounds the sweep

of easy wind and downy flake….”

The Poetry of Robert Frost, 1923

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (Dutton Children’s Books, 2001)

Joy Acey December 6, 2012 at 10:27 am

I have recently heard a story behind Frost’s writing of this poem. Have you heard it? It was a time in Frost’s career when he had very little money. (Actually, that coud be said for most of his career.) He had taken some things into town to sell for money for Christmas presents for his children and wife. He had been unable to sell his things at the weekly town market and was returning home empty handed, late, at the end of the day. He stopped at the woods and cried. (something he seldom did) and the poem grew from that moment.
Knowing this made the poem richer for me. How many of us reach those points in our writing where we really need money and think is what we are doing really worth the sacrifice? I’ve cried over my writing; how about you?

Nancy Bo Flood December 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Joy, Thank you for that poignant story. Yes, how many of us – and how many times – have we cried about our writing? Disappointments, not being able to find the right words, the real heart, any sensible plot line? Rejections, and then even with publication, criticism or poor sales. Somehow it helps that each of us “stop by the woods on a cold and difficult time” and find solace. Poetry gives us courage. We are not alone.

Dianne White December 7, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thanks for sharing that story, Joy. Reading about the story behind the poem and yours and Nancy’s thoughts about it are a wonderful way to start a new day of writing. Thanks.

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