The German word waldeinsamkeit denotes the feeling of being alone in the woods. There is no such word in the English language. If we are alone in the woods, and we want to express how it feels, we are forced to use lots of words. Some of us might even write a poem about it, and attempt to capture – in the sounds of the words and the rhythm of the lines – the quality of being alone in the woods. Perhaps this is what Robert Frost was doing, when he wrote the poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Which makes me think it is a good thing that he wasn’t German, otherwise he might not have bothered.

The Italian word culaccino refers to the mark left on a table by a cold glass. I doubt anyone has ever written a poem about that.

For other words that don’t translate into English, click here.


Robert Frost: Section A part b


As there are no past exam questions about Robert Frost for you to complete as part of your preparations, you will have to do a bit of extra work and consider possible questions that may be in Section A of the exam.

You know what Section A part a will be:

Write about the ways Frost tells the story in One Of The Poems We Have Studied.

Preparing for this part of the exam is relatively straightforward. Re-read the notes we have made in class, and then have a go. Give yourself half an hour. Remember that you are being assessed on your response to language, structure and form, so this part of the exam is all about close reading.

To prepare for Section A part b, you should bear in mind that you will be asked to respond to someone’s opinion of Frost’s poems. The question will be worded something like this:

How far would you agree with the view that…
Some readers think that… How do you respond to this view?
Readers have responded differently to the idea that… How do you respond?
What do you think of the view that…

Clearly, you are being asked to engage in some kind of debate. This requires you to offer more than one point of view. Avoid simply agreeing or disagreeing with the idea that is offered in the question. You should respond to it with a number of different points, which offer different insights.

Have a go at these:

How far do you agree with the view that Frost presents manual labour negatively in his poems?

Some readers consider Nature to be the dominant theme of Frost’s poetry. How do you respond to this view?

‘The most striking quality of Frost’s poems is their power to disturb.”
How do you respond?

What do you think of the view that Frost’s poems resist any one meaning?

What do you consider to be the significance of journeys in Frost’s poetry?

To what extent is it possible to sympathise with the ‘outsiders’ in Frost’s poems?

“In his poems, Frost is chiefly concerned with death, in various shapes and forms.”
What do you think of this view?

If you hand it in by Wednesday I’ll even mark it by Friday…