18 pages 36 minutes read

Robert Frost


Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1913

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Literary Context

As a pastoral poem, Frost’s “October” largely aligns with the formal rules of that genre: It occurs in a natural setting with a single speaker, and uses nature as a metaphor to explore a more introspective and philosophical concept—death. The pastoral poem originated in Greece and has evolved over time to include many modern-day interpretations, from the true-to-form pastoral to more critical takes on the form. With his decision to collapse what might be multiple stanzas into a single stanza, in some ways, Frost’s poem diverts from the traditional form, yet due to its rhyme scheme and measured verse, "October" maintains a kinship to more traditional poetics, such as poems of the romantic period.

While Frost mostly wrote and published during the period when modernism was occurring, his brand of poetics never too directly engaged with the movement. His contemporaries included the objectivist, the imagist, and the British poetry revivalists. Though Frost was never aligned completely with one school of poetry, he received early support from Ezra Pound and British poet Edward Thomas who were critical allies in receiving and amplifying Frost’s early work.