From an interview with essayist and editor Joseph Epstein:
Robert Frost once said of Sandburg, they were apparently to give a poetry reading together and someone said, "Where's Carl?" and Frost said, "He's upstairs messing up his hair."Full enjoyment of Epstein's anecdote requires the understanding that Frost too was something of an actor, playing the role of the homespun, folksy, New England sage. Robert Lowell highlights the difference between the public performer and the private man in his poem "Robert Frost" (which begins by playing on the title of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Frost at Midnight"):
Robert Frost at midnight, the audience goneWhen I was an undergraduate, one of my professors told a story of seeing Frost backstage before a campus reading. Unhappy with the reading arrangements, Frost was kicking a student.
to vapor, the great act laid on the shelf in mothballs,
his voice musical, raw and raw — he writes in the
"Robert Lowell from Robert Frost, his friend in the
"Sometimes I feel too full of myself," I say.
And he, misunderstanding, "When I am low,
I stray away. My son wasn't your kind. The night
we told him Merrill Moore would come to treat him,
he said 'I'll kill him first.' One of my daughters
knew every male she met was out to make her;
the way she dresses, she couldn't make a
And I, "Sometimes I'm so happy I can't stand myself."
And he, "When I am too full of joy, I think
how little good my health did anyone near me."
Link » Interview with Joseph Epstein (from identitytheory.com)