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    Robert Frost steals President Kennedy’s big show

    When [U.S. Interior Secretary] Stewart Udall suggested that America’s most popular poet read at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, the president-elect’s first reaction was: “Oh, no. You know that Robert Frost always steals any show he is part of.” Kennedy’s fear proved well-founded. As 60 million people watched on TV, the 86-year-old Frost, his papers and white hair fluttering in the bitter wind, fumbled. Unable to read his commissioned poem because of the glaring sun, he finally gave up and recited, from memory, “The Gift Outright.” It was a triumph, a recovery so brilliant that some thought he’d staged it.

    Joseph Parisi, in a book review of “Robert Frost: A Biography,” by Jeffrey Meyers, Chicago Tribune Magazine, May 26, 1996.


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