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Prosecutors have assigned poetry classes to the group of "beer and marijuana fueled" revelers who broke into Robert Frost’s former home in Ripton, Vermont last December. Middlebury College professor and Frost biographer Jay Parini is providing the verse qua punishment, with hopes of showing the "redemptive power of poetry" to the guilty parties. The Associated Press has the full story, along with some fascinating comments on the nature of crime and punishment in Vermont.

Originally Published: June 3rd, 2008

Travis Nichols is the author of two books of poetry: Iowa (2010, Letter Machine Editions) and See Me Improving (2010); and he is the author of two novels: Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder (2012) and The More You Ignore Me (2013). He has contributed to The Believer, Paste, The...

  1. June 3, 2008
     Aaron Fagan

    Those kids literally did what our learning institutions do figuratively, daily in the classroom. And saavy seeing that Parini's "poetry mattering" book is out now. Those kids deserve a Frost Medal for an action poem.

  2. June 3, 2008
     D. A. Powell

    Repeat offenders ought to get "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening."

  3. June 3, 2008
     Doodle

    The Muses find some mischief still for idle hands to do...

  4. June 7, 2008
     Kent Johnson

    What I want to know is, Why has this vandalism of Robert Frost's old digs not been praised by the Conceptual poets? Why are they not protesting the current torture of these young folks at the hands of the Academy of American Poets?
    Why not, I ask? After all, was their gesture (naive in its idealism as it may have been) not a cutting-edge conceptual act in practice? "Poetry off the page, bleeding into galleries...interventionist strategies," etc.?
    Surely, subjecting those who employ forms of radical civil disobedience against S of Q Poet Hero Worship to a week of forced diatribes by Jay Parini is not all that different in spirit and effect from brain washing. Come to think of it, it's really not that different from waterboarding.
    Also, and I ask this seriously, because all these finely posed Author photos are just too bizarre:
    Are the head shots posted by Kenny G. of Charles Bernstein (as Dick Cheney look-alike) and Cole Swensen (as apparent imitation of Carolyn Forche's famous book cover portrait) supposed to be conceptual/ironic? They are, right?
    Free the Ripton Five!!
    Kent