The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong

Penguin Pr. Aug. 2015. 192p. index. ISBN 9781594205835. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698140899. LIT
Orr, poetry columnist for the New York Times Book Review, provides a literary and cultural examination of human desires and the United States through this book-length study of Robert Frost's famous 1915 poem "The Road Not Taken." Orr finds that Frost's poem, which is an exploration of choice symbolized by reaching a crossroads, is more complicated than it appears and the overall meaning of it may be quite different from what most admirers and readers of the poem believe. Although the poem is revered worldwide and is arguably a universal creation, Orr sees it as decidedly American, owing to its central theme of free choice and self-determination. In his examination, the author first writes on Frost's life and then discusses the origins of the verse. The final chapters provide a critique of the poem, often through a cultural lens.
VERDICT This entertaining book, published on the centennial of Frost's poem, will appeal to poetry and American literature lovers, as well as to readers interested in the interweaving of art and culture. [See Prepub Alert, 2/9/15.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing