Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World

Synopsis: The acclaimed poet is examined in this film completed just prior to his death at age 88, with his speaking engagements at Amherst and Sarah Lawrence Colleges intercut with studies of his work, as well as with scenes of his life in rural Vermont and personal reminiscences about his career. He is also seen receiving an award from President Kennedy and touring an aircraft carrier.
41 min

[Birds Chirping]

[ Frost ]

A career like mine, you know...

could end, as someone might

say mockingly...

What began in felicity

and the privacy and secrecy...

and furtiveness of your poetry...

is ending in a burst of publicity.

We won't talk about that too much.

[ Man Narrating]

Robert Lee Frost...

named for Robert E. Lee.

1874 to 1963.

San Francisco to Boston.

Recognition as a poet

didn't come until 1913 in London.

In 1938, he feared he was finished.

He said that courage

is the virtue that counts most.

[ Man ] What about the courage

it takes to live to be 88?

That's- The less said

about that the better.

[All Laughing]

You don't Want to scare me.

[All Laughing]

- Ah, there.

-[ Man] ls it courage or luck?

No, something-

It's being sick when you're young.

- [ All Laughing]

- That's it.

See, I had bad health

when I was young.

- So I- this is just sheer evening it up.

- [All Chuckling ]

Living on. Have a better-

Ive heard that said before.

Somebody else was like that,

delicate when he was young...

rugged when he was old.

God evened it up to him.

[ Narrator]

Out of 40 years of obscurity...

he found his own voice.

[ Frost Reciting ]

A voice said, Look me in the stars...

and tell me truly men of earth...

if all the soul-and-body scars...

were not too much to pay for birth.

[ Narrator]

He pursued an art...

most men scorned

as impractical if not feminine.

I tell ya, every time I catch a man

red-handed, reading my book...

- a man, see.

- Yeah, yeah.

He'll- He looks up

and says brightly...

My wife's a great fan of yours.

- [ Both Chuckling]

- Every time!

[ Narrator]

He lived to win.

It will be some time

before anyone sums him up.

But in 1941 he wrote

his own epitaph:

[No Audible Dialogue]

I had a lover's quarrel with the World.

That's me.

I thought of modifying that...

to say I had my lovers quarrels,

plural, with the World.

But I make that one sustained

quarrel all my life. [Chuckles]

[ Man Chuckles]

Lover's quarrel- ifs a long

sustained quarrel.

The artist, however faithful

to his personal vision of reality...

becomes the lost champion...

of the individual mind and sensibility...

against an intrusive society

and an officious state.

The great artist

is thus a solitary figure.

He has, as Frost said,

a lovers quarrel with the world.

In pursuing his

perceptions of reality...

he must often sail against

the currents of his time.

This is not a popular role.

If Robert Frost was much honored

during his lifetime...

it was because a good many

preferred to ignore his darker truths.

I think we're proud of Mr. Frost...

and his interpretations of What

we feel is the best of America.

And therefore...

I present this award...

to our very good friend...


- Picture of him too.

- And ifs a picture of you and ifs a-

Thank you.

Would you say a word here?

Of course this is- this is sort of

the height of my life, you know...

and on a wave of poetry, isn't it'?

And- And I've-

That ought to be enough to say.

[ Kennedy ]

I knew Mr. Frost quite late in his life.

Really the last four or five years.

And I was impressed

by a good many qualities...

but also by his toughness.

He was not particularly belligerent

in his relations, his human relations.

But he felt very strongly

that the Unites States...

should be country of power,

of force...

to use that power and force Wisely.

But he once said to me

not to let the Harvard in me...

- get to be too important.

- [ Listeners Laugh ]

So we've- we've followed that advice.

You never know What I'll do next.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 9 Dec. 2022. <'s_quarrel_with_the_world_17037>.

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