Robert Frost vs. Emily Dickinson: Famous Poets

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Difference between Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson

Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson are two well-known American poets who are often quoted and studied in literature classes. Both Frost and Dickinson suffered loss and depression during their lifetimes, but while Frost achieved great success and recognition as a poet, Dickinson's fame came largely posthumously.

Personal Life

Robert Lee Frost was born in 1874 and he died in 1963. Although he was born in California and grew up in the city, Frost is closely associated with rural New England where he lived later in his life. Frost produced much of his poetry while he was living in New Hampshire on a farm with his family. Frost worked as a teacher and lecturer.

During his lifetime, Frost suffered from many significant losses. His father died when Frost was just eleven, leaving behind only eight dollars for his family. Both Frost and his mother suffered from depression, as did his wife, and his daughter Irma spent time in a mental hospital. Of his six children, three died young and one committed suicide.

Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 and she died in 1886. She lived and died in Amherst, in Massachusetts. Dickinson led a secluded life and she was often considered an eccentric character by the local community, due to her reclusive nature and the way she dressed in white.


Robert Frost is known for writing about life in rural New England in the early 20th century. The use of colloquial forms of speech is also characteristic of his poetry. Frost's poems often explore complex themes of a philosophical and social nature. Frost also produced some prose writing and plays. His most famous works include Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and The Road Not Taken.

Emily Dickinson published some poems during her lifetime, but much of her work remained private until after her death. Dickinson's poetry is not representative of the time at which she was writing. She tends to use short lines, unconventional punctuation and capitalization and slant rhymes. Many of her works also lack titles. The works that were published by Dickinson were often adapted by the publishers to make them more conventional. Dickinson's poems vary a great deal in their themes, styles and content. Her most famous works include Because I Could Not Stop For Death.


Frost is a famous American poet who is widely known and often quoted and referenced in popular culture. During his lifetime, Frost was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes.

Unlike Frost, Dickinson achieved little success during her lifetime. Although a number of her poems were published, most remained private until they were discovered by Dickinson's sister, Lavinia, after Emily had died. The first collection of Dickinson's poems was published through the efforts of two of Dickinson's acquaintances, Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, in 1886. However, these poems were heavily edited. It was not until 1955 that a complete and fairly unedited collection was published. Dickinson's reputation as a poet has been challenged, but she is now generally considered to be an important American poet.


Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson are today considered to be among the most important American poets, but their authorial experiences during their own lifetimes were very different.

  • Frost and Dickinson are both linked with New England.
  • Both poets suffered from depression.
  • Frost was a famous poet during his lifetime.
  • Only a few of Dickinson's poems were published during her lifetime.


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