Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening is a digital essay that uses the affordances of the web to bring this Robert Frost poem to life in a very personal way. This digital essay aims to capture not only how I believe poetry should read but also how I actually read this specific poem both literally and figuratively.
I’ve always been astonished at how Frost is able to write deep meaning into simple images of the New England outdoors. My literal reading of the poem is shown on the left side of screen. I think this poem is so beautiful in the literal sense, but has deep figurative meaning as well. I always think of this poem when I’m sleeping and don’t want to get out of bed.. a la “my bed/blankets are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep…” etc. In my video, this personal, figurative reading is shown on the right side of the screen.
Last semester, I took a poetry course with Joseph Donahue that I absolutely loved. I’ve always loved poetry, but this class did a great job of fostering an intense appreciation for images, and the actual art of reading poetry as well as writing it. We learned that poetry is the only art form that can isolate and elucidate single images within the mind using a functionally artful combination of words. I tried to illustrate this process with my digital essay.
Many “readers” commented that they might like to hear Frost’s voice reading the poem itself throughout the essay, but this would defeat the purpose of reading it for yourself. I feel as though my digital essay offers the reader an opportunity to read the poem properly on their own, and then get a glimpse into my personal reading as well.