Campus News

Lecture to honor poet Robert Frost

Robert Frost and Victor E. Reichert at the Reicherts' home in Cincinnati.

Robert Frost, left, and Victor E. Reichert at the Reicherts' home in Cincinnati


Published April 17, 2015

The Bible and renowned poetry will meet during the UB Poetry Collection’s second Victor E. Reichert Robert Frost event.

The annual lecture, created in honor of esteemed poet Robert Frost and supported by the Jonathan F. Reichert Fund, will take place from 6-8 p.m. April 22, in 420 Capen Hall, North Campus.

The event will begin with a reception at 6 p.m., followed by a lecture at 6:30 p.m. by Diane Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of English.

“Frost is a major American poet whose works are a significant contribution to our collection,” says Michael Basinski, curator of the Poetry Collection. “His materials will serve not only as a window into history, but as research materials for our students and faculty.”

Frost is one of the most popular and respected American poets of the 20th century. He received four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and examination of complex social and philosophical themes.

The Victor E. Reichert Robert Frost Collection held in the UB Libraries was donated in 2013 by Jonathan Reichert, Victor E. Reichert’s son and UB professor emeritus of physics.

It includes letters, photographs, audio recordings and other documents that chronicle the 24-year friendship between Frost and the late Victor Reichert, a Cincinnati rabbi.

Perhaps more than any other Frost collection, the Reichert materials illuminate views on the poet’s religious beliefs, which have been the subject of debate for decades.

During her lecture, “Robert Frost’s ‘A Masque of Reason’: Biblical Job in 1945,” Christian will discuss a short, satirical play by Frost that serves as the 43rd chapter of Job — the Bible’s “Book of Job” only has 42 chapters. Her lecture will examine questions the play puts to and about God, and also discuss the relationship between Reichert and Frost.

“Frost and Rabbi Reichert were friends and they discussed the play. Reichert was also the translator of the Soncino edition of Job, and he lectured in my ‘Bible as Literature’ class on Job,” says Christian. “So many threads come together. A great book, a great poet, a great rabbi.”

Founded in 1937, the UB Poetry Collection includes one of the world’s foremost collections of James Joyce materials, as well as significant collections on Dylan Thomas, William Carlos Williams, Robert Duncan and other writers and poets.

For more information about the collection, visit the Poetry Collection website.