Robert Frost moved to Shaftsbury, Vermont, in 1920, intending to establish an apple orchard. During his nearly two decades there, he wrote some of his best-known poems, including the iconic “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
In his honor, the Bennington Museum will mount a major exhibition next year, Robert Frost, At Present in Vermont, examining the poet’s life and work in the context of the landscape and culture of Bennington County.
In a prelude of sorts, the museum’s current exhibition, A Snowy Evening, features 31 regional artists responding to the poet’s work. Among them is Story Project co-founder Peter Crabtree, who contributed “After Frost: Do, Does, Did.”
Peter’s artist’s statement follows:
Did I really watch him on TV that January day in 1961 when John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, or was it later, in some grainy newsreel footage, that I first became aware of Robert Frost — stooped and white-haired, like some kindly grandfather — reciting from memory his poem “A Gift Outright” to mark the occasion? Either way, the impression that he had always been an even-keeled, mild old man would stick with me through high school and only be shaded somewhat by the mandatory reading of “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening.”
But in fact, a closer examination of the poems Frost wrote while living in South Shaftsbury reveals a person lashed by some dark inner weather. Read “The Need of Being Versed in Country Things,” “Spring Pools,” and “Acquainted with the Night” and you realize that impermanence was much on his mind and that the darkness must have followed him throughout his life.
And so this piece, “After Robert Frost: Do, Does, Did,” pays tribute to that man and his method. No one photograph could do justice to the way his poems work — building image upon image — or the passage of time, or Frost’s clear-eyed, unsentimental observation of the way we live as part of, rather than apart from, nature.
— Peter Crabtree
A Snowy Evening runs through Dec. 30, although a closed-bid auction for the works in the exhibit ends Dec. 22 at 4 pm. (The winning bid will be split, with half the proceeds going to the artist and the remainder to the museum.) For more information about the event and to see the other works in the show, please visit http://bit.ly/snowyevening