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A Robert Frost poem handwritten & hidden away: “War Thoughts at Home”

By September 27, 2006

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Another poet who favored writing in the margins of books (see Billy Collins below) must have been Robert Frost -- an unpublished poem he inscribed by hand on the title page of one of his own collections has just been discovered & will be published for the first time next week in the venerable Virginia Quarterly Review.

from The Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia):
“Frost poem found at U.Va.,” by Carlos Santos
“A U.Va. graduate student, poking through a box of uncataloged material at the school's library, has found an unpublished poem by Robert Frost.... The poem, ‘War Thoughts at Home,’ was handwritten by Frost in a copy of North of Boston, his second collection of poetry. The poem is signed by Frost and dated January 1918.... Robert Stilling, an English graduate student at the University of Virginia, recently unearthed the 35-line poem. It is a tribute to Edward Thomas, an Englishman who was killed in France in 1917 during World War I. Thomas, a good friend of the poet, was carrying a volume of Frost’s poetry when he died at the front.”

from The Boston Globe (AP):
Obscure Robert Frost poem discovered by grad student,” by Hillel Italie
“Frost’s poem imagines a soldier’s wife in an old house at wintertime, when she is alarmed by the ‘rage’ of some blue jays. She puts down her sewing, looks out the window and watches the birds.

And one says to the rest
We must just watch our chance
And escape one by one
Though the fight is no more done
Than the war is in France.

from Virginia Quarterly Review:
Between Friends: Rediscovering the War Thoughts of Robert Frost,” by Robert Stilling
“‘War Thoughts at Home’ embodies the stories of two great friends in Frost’s life. The first was Edward Thomas—who died in the trenches during World War I—and the poem narrates Frost’s ambivalence about the war that claimed Thomas’s life. The story of the other friend picks up where the first leaves off. It is the story of a new beginning for Frost in his friendship with Frederic G. Melcher, a rising star in the book trade, and it was Melcher who preserved this lost passage of Frost’s poetic thoughts about the war.”

Related articles:
And Yet”... A new Philip Larkin poem comes to light after a half century lost in the library
A new Sappho poem comes to light
An ancient poem carved in stone (the earliest New World poem in Mexico)
Poems of War: A collection of classic war poems


April 20, 2009 at 1:26 am
(1) Akash says:

Hello I am a high school junior in dual credit english and I’m doing a report on Robert Frost. I first need people to answer my survey about his poetry. I’d greatly appreciate your help. Thank you.

My survey website:


March 29, 2013 at 11:54 pm
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March 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm
(3) voetschimmel says:

Wat goed geschreven helemaal waar!

July 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm
(4) Rex Thompson says:

I too have an unpublished poem written by Robert Frost he wrote about my wifes uncle who died during WW2 he was freinds with him in Ripton Vermont

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