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Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World

President Kennedy’s speech on the occasion of Robert Frost receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in March 1962 forms the epigraph for director Shirley Clarke’s powerfully human portrait of Frost, shot just months before the iconic poet’s death in 1963. Clarke intercuts footage of Frost out in the world—speaking to students, touring a naval vessel, delivering a talk at Sarah Lawrence College—and scenes of his purposeful, solitary puttering around his rural home in Vermont. While capturing the rhythmic flow of the poet’s life, Clarke also allows her subject to comment on her approach. Speaking to his audience at Sarah Lawrence, Frost comments on the cameras on stage with him: “What you’re seeing here, this sideshow, this is a documentary film going on…but it is a false picture that presents me as always digging potatoes or saying my own poems.”

Genres: Documentary

Other Films by Shirley Clarke

The Cool World

Shirley Clarke’s (Portrait of Jason, The Connection, Ornette: Made in America) hybrid film follows the Harlem youth gang, the Royal Pythons, and their adventures and tribulations both. Starring mostly non-professional actors, the film is a trenchant look at inner-city life in the early 1960s, encapsulated by this group of young men who roam the streets