Fredonia Shakespeare Club learns about Robert Frost

Submitted Photo Fredonia Shakespeare Club member Joan Larson presented a paper on Robert Frost at the Dec. 13 meeting, which was held at Joyce Haines' home.

The eighth meeting of the Fredonia Shakespeare Club was held on Dec. 13 at the home of Joyce Haines. Fourteen members were in attendance. President Haines welcomed all and extended holiday wishes. This was the last regular meeting of the 2018 calendar year.

Priscilla Bernatz read the minutes from the Dec. 6 meeting. The minutes were approved as written.

Club members elected 2019 officers. 2019 officers are President Lucy Richardson, Vice President Maggie Byran-Peterson and Dr. Irene Strychalski, jointly, Secretary Priscilla Bernatz and Treasurer Florence McClelland. New officers begin their term at the June 2019 picnic.

The Club’s area of study this year is The World Between WWI and WWII. Joan Larson presented her paper “Robert Frost” which is summarized as follows:

Robert Frost can be described as the American Laureate, the most American of poets. Long before he became known as the greatest American poet of our time, he worked as a farmer, a bobbin boy in a Massachusetts mill, a shoemaker and a teacher in country schools. The most American of poets, he was first recognized not in his own country, but abroad and his first two books were published in England. Robert Frost never entered a competition and did not believe in prize contests, yet the Pulitzer Prize for the best poetry of the year was awarded to him four times. His monologues were written in rough, conversational tones of speech yet his lyrics are delicate, precise music. Frost chose one part of the country for his special focus. The very titles of the books seem local: North of Boston, Mountain Interval and New Hampshire. This poetry remains regional, yet universal.

On March 26, 1962, Robert Frost celebrated his 88th birthday. It was marked by these events. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Kennedy at a White House ceremony. He was guest of honor at the Pan American Union in Washington for the publication of the volume “In the Clearing,” his first collection of new poems in 15 years. The medal and the appraisals of the book made Frost his country’s accepted, if unofficial laureate.

Perhaps the most public acknowledgment of the stature of this acclaimed poet was established in January 1961 and the inauguration of John F. Kennedy, when Robert Frost recited “The Gift Outright.” It was the first time in the history of the United States that a poet had been so honored. Frost had written another poem, which he intended to read, but the sun was in his eyes, a cold wind almost blew the paper away, so after a few lines, he recited “The Gift Outright.”

Among the poetry of Robert Frost, some of the most familiar are: “Birches,” “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and “The Road Not Taken.”

Leanna McMahon assisted at the tea table. The next meeting of the on Jan. 3 featured Gail Crowe’s paper “Marcel Proust.”