First there is this from The Writer's Almanac:
Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" was published in The New Republic magazine on this day in 1923. He called it, "My best bid for remembrance." It is one of the best known and loved poems in all of American literature.
Right before he wrote it, Frost stayed up all night working on a different poem called "New Hampshire." He'd never worked all night on a poem before, and he was feeling pretty good about that, and so he went outside to watch the sun rise. It was the middle of June and there was no snow in sight.
He suddenly got an idea there, and rushed back in and wrote "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," almost without lifting his pen from the page. He said of the experience, "It was as if I'd had a hallucination."
Frost said poetry could make you "remember what you didn't know you knew."
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" ends:
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
* * * * *
And there is this personal postscript:
Robert Frost is quickly becoming one of my favorite poets (nearly pushing Emily Dickinson out her first-place position on my list of favorites); I've been slowly reading (without commenting upon) his poems in the highly recommended Library of America edition of his works.
Frost, to my mind, is one of the great American voices; his technical mastery and his genius at giving voice to the ineffable impress me. Reading Frost's poetry is a great balm my curmudgeonly, Swiss-cheese mind, and I recommend Frost as a remedy for whatever might ail you.
But all of this leads me to ask you a question: Who is your favorite American poet?