8. Robert Frost, "Mending Wall"
Most of the poems in this grouping of 15 poems participate in the modernist/postmodernist mode. Depending on how you interpret McKay's use of form (the traditional sonnet), you might say that McKay stands outside those movements. In any case, Frost does stand outside: he had an antagonistic relationship to modernist experiment. He claimed that writing free verse (such as Williams in "Between Walls" or H.D. in "Sea Rose") was like playing tennis without a net. We are reading one of Frost's most famous poems, "Mending Wall." If you have time, watch the one-hour debate held at the Kelly Writers House in the fall of 2012: there two poets admire what Frost is doing in "Mending Wall," while two others - the postmodernist poets on the panel - have serious doubts about the poem. Which side are you on?
1. read the poem: link to text
2. listen to Frost perform the poem: link to audio
3. watch a 19-minute discussion of the poem: link to video
4. watch a 1-hour debate about the poem among 4 poets: link to video