, Derry, New Hampshire

January 23, 2014

Derry historian pens new book on famed poet

Derry town historian will reveal new details of poet's life

By Julie Huss

---- — DERRY — He’s had this book forming in his head since he was a high school student.

For Derry town historian Richard Holmes, it’s been a long labor of love to get to the point where he is now writing a book on the life of Robert Frost and his years living and teaching in Derry.

Holmes will be joined by local poet Robert Crawford for a program at Derry Public Library on Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. The program, “The Day That Made Robert Frost,” will give people a look into how Frost came to teach at Pinkerton Academy while living at his farm on Route 28.

That includes the day in February 1906 when Frost got a job teaching English at Pinkerton. Holmes said if things had gone differently that day, it would have been a different world in Derry and for Frost.

A local newspaper at that time, the Derry Enterprise, published a Frost poem on the front page, giving the local poet a new identify and a legion of support for his lyrical talents.

Holmes said his book will have about 220 pages when complete and will give many new details on the poet’s experiences in Derry.

“Everything I’m going to say is new,” Holmes said.

Holmes said Frost lived a long, hearty life after leaving Derry. The poet died in 1963. Many books written while he was alive and since his death have dealt with specific details about the poet that many readers and fans are familiar with.

Holmes said in his research he has found many new things to share.

“I’m also taking a lot of sources and bringing it into one package,” he said.

There is no set title for the new book, Holmes said, but he is in contact with Frost family members to get their views and advice.

The historian calls Frost’s time in Derry a key time in the poet’s life, where surroundings gave way to some of the poet’s best loved poems.

“It was the most important part of his life,” Holmes said. “He had to have an experience, and then write about it. And he had those on that beautiful farm.”

He said Frost’s years in Derry helped forge his future as a poet.

“I agree with Robert Frost, there are roads we come to, we choose to take certain roads,” Holmes said. “And that does make all the difference.”

The Frost library program on Feb. 10 is open to everyone and no registration is required. In addition to the Frost program, the library also has an art exhibit based on Frost poetry on the main floor featuring the works of local artists Inge Seaboyer, Judy Krassowski and Corinne Dodge. Call 432-6140 for information.