Poetry, Frost and The Road Not Taken

Writing Poetry

This week, I decided to enroll in a poetry writing class. I haven’t done any kind of creative writing in almost ten years, and I’ve written only a handful of poems in my life (all of them when I was in college). I thought tapping into this new creative outlet would be fun and challenging. I got the idea in yoga class (of course) when my teacher read some poems. So, I go.

There are essays to write in this class, and the first was to describe a favorite poet who wrote at least 40 years ago and tell how we imagined this poet would influence the kinds of poems we write.

Well, I don’t really have a favorite poet, so I focused the essay on one of my favorites classic poems, “The Road Not Taken,” by Robert Frost.

Two Roads Diverge and I Write An Essay

I suppose I’m not alone in admiring Robert Frost. I like that his poetry shows how something that at first might seem very simple is really quite profound.

The wonderful thing about this particular poem is there are so many possibilities for the journey it describes. I suspect a lot of people read it and conclude that taking the road less traveled was the right choice, because it led to some wonderful experiences that would not have happened otherwise.

But we aren’t really told what happens to the writer on that road less traveled. Reading and absorbing a poem like this opens up a world of ideas about the journey of life. Any one of us may think we can explain our present circumstances based on a choice, or perhaps a set of choices made in the past. But we can’t know with certainty that it’s better to be unique and go against the status quo?

Yet something inside us (at least something inside me) romanticizes the possibilities of travelling in a different direction.

Maybe our fascination with the road less traveled is due to the predictability we imagine will be the result of taking more traveled paths. Once the path is beaten, so to speak, we are more likely to know where it leads simply because more people can tell us what to expect.

If you look at life that way, you realize most new discoveries and advances come only when people take risks and choose less traveled roads.

I know I’m not exactly addressing the topic of describing a favorite poet, but I think the kind of poetry I will write will be in line with my ideas about Frost’s work.

My preference is always to say more with fewer words, which may be what draws me to poetry in the first place. Words are limiting, but they are still the best tools we have for communicating.

Truly artistic poets can give great power to few words. The shorter poems usually speak to me the loudest.

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