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Those who favour Frost

Jeffrey Hart on a satisfying new biography of the American poet Robert Frost, who deserves to be up with Yeats and Eliot in the poetry pantheon

By Jeffrey Hart   January 2000

As we end the 20th century a rough consensus has emerged. The pre-eminent poets writing in English have been Yeats, Eliot and Frost. A bit lower many would place Stevens, Pound and maybe Auden. I note that Americans score well; also that, taken as a whole, this has been a glorious century for poetry in English, perhaps the best since the 17th century.

Jay Parini’s new biography of Frost enters a strange situation. We already have the three-volume biography (1966-76) by Lawrance Thompson and RH Winnick. That project has a grotesque aspect. Thompson was chosen as biographer by Frost himself,…

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