- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2008

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — Sixty years after New England poet Robert Frost sat down with Dartmouth College students for an off-the-record lecture, the four-time Pulitzer Prize winner’s words to them are being published for the first time.

The transcript of the 1947 speech includes a candid question-and-answer session in which the poet suggests one way to take the world is “as a joke, take it humorously.”

A transcript of the Oct. 23, 1947, speech — one of dozens he gave at the college — will be published later this month in the journal Literary Imagination. Transcripts of other lectures he gave at the Ivy League school in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s are also headed for print, thanks to a former undergraduate who came across recordings of the talks and found out they had not been heard beyond the campus.

The transcripts may not rise to the level of a newly discovered poem or manuscript in significance, but Frost lovers and scholars may learn a thing or two.

“It’s like Frost unplugged,” said Peter Campion, editor of the journal. “Previously unpublished lectures would drive scholars crazy in and of themselves, but in addition to that, we’re getting him in discussion. He’s sitting down with a bunch of 20-year-olds and trying to teach them. That involves anecdotes, stories, jokes, funny little disses on his contemporaries.”

Mr. Frost, the author of “The Road Not Taken” and “The Gift Outright,” died in 1963. He won Pulitzer Prizes for poetry in 1924, 1931, 1937 and 1943.

Mr. Frost’s lectures, some of them part of the college’s “Great Issues” series, were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes and small plastic discs known as flexographs. The college promised not to release them as long as the speakers of the “Great Issues” series, including lectures by Aldous Huxley and other notables, were alive.

James Sitar came across them as a Dartmouth undergraduate studying the storied New England poet.

“I knew that the library there had a lot of very rare materials and manuscripts. I started looking through them and I noticed that they had these recordings and thought they had a particular sort of value,” he said.

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