For any fan of poetry, visiting the Robert Frost House at Greenfield Village is a must-do when in the metro Detroit region.
The house, a modest sized white mid-19th century Greek Revival style home where Robert Frost lived while he was at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor during several fellowship in the 1920's.
Regrettably, the house is not decorated as it would have been during Frost's stay, but as it would have been during a previous owner near its origination in the 1830's and 1840's. A sign in the hallway suggests that the curators are working on a more fully developed Frost exhibit, although no timeline for completion is noted.
Still, they do have an audio recording of Frost reading one of his most famous works, "The Road Not Taken," a staple at commencements and required reading in many high schools. Many cling to this poem as an indication of great hope and opportunity and believe that when the speaker suggests that taking the "road less travelled by" which has "made all the difference" that the difference will be a positive one- a happy ending. Frost, ever the taciturn New Englander says nothing of the sort.
I think this is something that poets know keenly well. That despite their toils and tribulations to find the striking image, the powerful metaphor, the syllable count that pleases the ear and lifts the soul; that the work will likely go unnoticed, or if noticed, then misunderstood.
And yet they write.
This is the power of the Robert Frost home, not simply a house that briefly housed this writer, but a reminder that language matters and is worth agonizing over, that innovation and creativity end in failure more than they end in success, but to live a life of depth and courage, a life of meaning and purpose, what else can one do?
Family Questions for Discussion
1. When did Robert Frost live in Ann Arbor?
2. Who were some of the earliest dwellers in their home? How is the home decorations reflective of that time?
3. Why is Robert Frost considered such an important "American" poet?
4. Why is an appreciation of poetry such an important part of being a well-rounded person?
5. What is your favorite Robert Frost poem?
6. How could the curators improve the display of the Robert Frost home?