This Day in Letters: Robert Frost on Revision #NationalPoetryMonth #NPM16

Today in 1919 R. Frost wrote from The Frost Place to Marguerite Ogden Bigelow Wilkinson, a poet and critic, in response to her description of his writing process:

“I worked for twenty years as I had to by force of circumstances and I work now as I have to from force of the habit formed then. I have never been good at revising. I always thought I made things worse by recasting and retouching. I never knew what was meant by choice of words. It was one word or none. When I saw more than one possible way of saying a thing I knew I was fumbling and turned from writing. If I ever fussed a poem into shape I hated and distrusted it afterward. The great and pleasant memories are of poems that were single strokes (one stroke to the poem) carried through.”

From The Letters of Robert Frost. Ed. by Donald Sheehy, et al. United States of America: Belknap Press, 2014. 674-675.

#NationalPoetryMonth #NPM16


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