“Robert Frost in Michigan”

One of my favorite poets of all times is Robert Frost. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might already know that! 😉

Frost wrote so many wonderful poems, my favorite is “The Road Not Taken”.

Most people associate Robert Frost with living in and being from New England only, but what you might not know is that he also spent a bit of time in Ann Arbor Michigan, and loved it!

In 1921 Frost accepted a 5,000 fellowship to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  He once said to a friend of his “I like Michigan people and I like Michigan”.  He stayed in Ann Arbor at the University lecturing, attending receptions and arranging poetry readings with other American poets of the time, and meeting with groups of students.

He used to love to wander the streets of Ann Arbor at night when he couldn’t sleep, which was often because he suffered quite badly from insomnia. On one of those walks he found a Greek Revival House that he thought was “charming”. This house which used to be in Ann Arbor on Pontiac Trail became his residence while here. The house was later moved to preserve it’s history and is now located at Greenfield Village in Dearborn Michigan.

This is the house as it looks today at Greenfield Village:

"Robert Frost House"
“Robert Frost House”

 

Frost wrote two poems during his stay in Ann Arbor.  The first one is:

SPRING POOLS

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.

“Spring Pools”  captures the natural rhythm of seasons in transition with flowing water and reflections as well as the transformation of  flowering tree buds to the deep dark green foliage of the summer woods.

"Time to Reflect"
“Time to Reflect”

 

This poem was written around the time he had a bout with the flu. He took to writing at that time for three full days. He stayed in this house  by a roaring fireplace on the couch and wrote, quite enjoyably to his hearts content!

In a conversation with Edward Latham a number of years later, Frost recalled the circumstances of that writing: “I lived out on Pontiac Trail then. One night I sat alone by my open fireplace and wrote Spring Pools. It was a very pleasant experience, and I remember it clearly, although I don’t remember the writing of many of my other poems.”

In the 1920s Frost became quite a well known figure in Southeast Michigan. He lived in this house from about 1924 through 1926.

I mentioned before, that he wrote two poems while in Ann Arbor. The other poem is called “Acquainted with the Night”, which I won’t insert into this post right now. I might bring that at another time with an image that reflects his words.

Robert Frost did also mention that He felt as though he did some of his best and most creative writing while in Ann Arbor!

I personally think that is really awesome!! 🙂

 

“Salt”

When you look at the title of this image, then actually take a look at the photo. You may wonder why such a title? Well I’ll explain. First of all let me tell you that it was a cold late winter”s day when I took this. I was on the same architectural photo hunt that I mentioned to you in my previous post.

After going around the main part of the central campus of The University of Michigan, I headed off towards the direction of the hospital, which is still part of the school. There are plenty of medical school buildings there as well.

After turning onto a side street I happened upon the building you see here. I really wanted to get out of the car and take in the whole of the building, but I wasn’t able to, I searched everywhere for some place to park. I knew I just had to have an image of this place although I had no idea even what it was from the vantage point I was in.

Being that it was in the middle of the day, on a busy week day. There were cars, and people everywhere, and no way for me to actually park and roam around. So I did the only thing I could.

I put my car in park, put on my flashers, right in front of the building and took a few photos of the entrance area. I loved the style of architecture, looking like that of something from the U.K.!

In the color version of this image you can see all the embellishment and the crest above the doorway really standing out in on the brick. You can see it here too, but not quite the same.

You may also notice bunches of snow still piled up along the stairs and entry area. Well this is where the title comes in.

When I was processing this photo, I noticed there was quite a bit of salt that had been put down on the stairs and walkway. The salt was blue in color, so of course it was not plain salt, but one mixed with additives to melt ice. This didn’t look very nice, but it also wasn’t very practical to take it out of the photo either.

So I opted to leave it in, and do a monochrome version, and then title it “Salt”. Since I didn’t know the name of the structure, I had to search it up. I came to know that it is the Kinesiology Building. Part of the U of M, and also has a sign on another area that says Observatory Lodge. I’ll find out more about it in the future.

I’m planning on going back there again. Probably in the warm weather, when I’m able to get out of the car, find an actual parking space, and get a full view of this lovely piece of architecture. I know you’ll love seeing the complete structure too!

For now, I leave you with “Salt” in monochrome!

Kinesiology Building
Kinesiology Building