I Demand to Speak with God


Reading Frost’s private notebooks is the opposite of pulling back the curtain on Oz. While the real Oz turns out to be a little man working a big speaker system, the real Frost turns out to be someone naturally—preternaturally—amplified even when nobody else is listening. The Notebooks of Robert Frost is his collected scraps, none of it written for an audience; it is the not-poetry, not-letters, not-lectures; it is the teacher’s book lists and lecturer’s notes, private reminders, scotched ideas, trial balloons, epigram practice sheets, scraps of plays and drafts of verse, fulminations and less-than-fulminations—all exactly as they came, except no longer in Frost’s blocky hand (though his ink colors are duly noted). Over the course of 688 pages, Frost has the answer for everything and the counter question—repeated to the Fth power. The voice that comes through even this fractured note-jotting is so supersaturated with authority that one winds up amazed that Frost was able to get down from his horse long enough to write the most beautiful American poems of the twentieth century.

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