Home/Working Papers/The Sweetest Dreams that Labor Knows: Robert Frost and the Poetics of Work
The Sweetest Dreams that Labor Knows: Robert Frost and the Poetics of Work
Código: WPE – 070
This paper uses the work of Robert Frost to give insights into the diverse meanings that work holds in daily lived experience. We use this analysis to discuss general ways in which the content and formal properties of poetry allow unique insights into the world of work. Through a series of passages in Frost’s works, we show how these illuminations of the poet’s own experiences hold insights by which scholars can understand the experience of work more generally, giving insights into how work can be experienced as personally liberating but also culturally stifling, a tool both for and against human self- fulfillment. After a brief discussion of the use of poetry to understand organizational life, we analyze various excerpts from Frost’s well-known and lesser known works. Finally, we argue that an understanding of poetry is a way for scholars to expand their understandings of the world of work, both through paying attention to the contents of poems and, more generally, from considering a poetic form of expression as shot-through with theoretical and epistemic insights.