Elizabeth Bishop, “The Fish”

Bishop’s poem offers a powerful contrast to Frost’s pessimism. Like Frost, Bishop also attends closely to the concrete specificity of the natural world. However, the attention she pays to the “tremendous fish” caught by the poem’s speaker results in a vision that’s powerfully life affirming.

Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

Like Bishop’s poem, Oliver’s arguably demonstrates more optimism than Frost’s does about the natural world as a source of inspiration. Indeed, one of the chief themes of the poem relates to nature’s capacity to inspire awe. However, there is a similar strain of melancholy that can be traced to the speaker of both poems, which makes them generative to read together.

Louise Glück, “The Wild Iris”

Glück’s poem shares with Frost’s a fascination with the natural world and the perpetual transformation that characterizes it. But whereas Frost’s speaker feels melancholy about the relation they see between change and decline, Glück’s speaker marvels as the mysteries of life and death.

William Carlos Williams, “This Is Just to Say”

Frost’s speaker references the biblical story of the Garden of Eden to conjure the profound sense of loss and decline caused by Adam and Eve’s exile from paradise. Williams also references this story of exile, but because he does so with a much lighter touch, which makes the allusion far less despairing. A comparison of the effect helps shed light on just how pessimistic Frost’s speaker really is.

S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” first gained widespread attention when it appeared prominently in Hinton’s 1967 novel. In the fifth chapter, a character named Ponyboy Curtis recites Frost’s poem for his friend, Johnny. The reference to Frost’s verses becomes even more significant in the novel’s ninth chapter. As Ponyboy is lying in the hospital after getting burned in a fire, Johnny recalls the poem and encourages his friend with the now-immortal line, “Stay gold, Ponyboy.”