“The Mentorships of Robert Frost” by Dan Toomey
Location: Brooks M. O’Brien Auditorium, East Academic Building
A study of Robert Frost’s friendships with younger men is important for a number of reasons. In addition to expressing the man’s virtues - such as loyalty, kindness, and generosity - that were passed over or else underplayed in Laurance Thompson’s still influential authorized biography, they can show us a great deal about friendship and what it means to be a teacher and a student. Finally, these friendships on occasion brought forth something of significance that lived beyond both mentor and mentee. This talk will, among other things, speak in specific terms to how Frost’s mentorship of one young man laid the groundwork for Frost’s writing of “The Most of It,” called by eminent literary critic Irving Howe “one of the greatest poems ever written by an American.”
Dan Toomey has taught writing and literature at Landmark College for 32 years. He has published numerous articles on Robert Frost. His interest in Frost dates to his childhood, when he noted how accurately the imagery in the Frost poems he was learning in school was to be found in the New England woods and mountains where he spent so much of his time. He holds degrees from Marlboro College and the Bread Loaf School of English, both Vermont institutions which were influenced profoundly by Frost’s educational ideals and which graduated many students whom Frost mentored.