Thursday, December 29, 2016

The road not taken: Finding America in the poem everyone loves and almost everyone gets wrong, by David Orr

No, no, no…. not the road less traveled – that’s Scott Peck’s bestselling self-help book, the title of hundreds of other articles and books, and the penultimate line in Robert Frost’s enormously popular poem, titled The road not taken.  Orr, poetry critic of the New York Times Book Review, has written an accessible exploration of this poem.  Under former Poet Laureate Robert Pinskey’s “Favorite Poem Project,” this poem was far and away the “favorite” of Americans.  But what does it really mean?  Orr’s book is divided into four parts, “The poet,” which gives an fascinating biographical background of Frost; “The Poem,” an explication of the structure and meaning of the work; and “The Choice” and “The Chooser,” an exploration of the ambiguity of the poem’s final line.  Scholarly, yet at times laugh-out-loud witty, a real delight for anyone who enjoys poetry.  172 pp.

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