Robert Frost’s poems are as modest as the winter trees he elegizes. Frost was not as pristine as fallen snow. Two roads diverged in the woods. He took the one less traveled, the road of being a vindictive jerk.
Fellow poets bore the brunt of Frost’s jealousy. Simultaneously assured that no rival could compare to his mastery and fearful of challengers, he heckled burgeoning poets during their readings. To distract one of Archibald MacLeish’s recitation, Frost lit a small fire in the back. When confronting the would-be arsonist, Bernard DeVoto told Frost, “You’re a good poet, Robert, but you’re a bad man.” Frost did not really disprove DeVoto’s accurate summary, once he spread rumors that DeVoto was mentally challenged. After similar provocation from Truman Capote, Frost forced the New Yorker to fire the cub reporter Capote.
Frost’s propensity for grudges was equally disastrous in his personal life. His own marriage was jeopardized after falsely accusing his wife of having an affair. One night he woke his children to warn them he was about to kill him and their mother. Luckily, he did not follow through on his threat.