Poetic Justice (Groan)

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Robert Frost, circa 1960.

hide captionRobert Frost, circa 1960.

Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Think twice about throwing a party in that abandoned farmhouse down the road... you might end up in poetry class. In Ripton, Vermont, a bunch of teenagers threw a rager at Homer Noble Farm, site of an unheated farmhouse on a dead-end road. Sounds like a typical teenage stunt, right? Atypically, the farmhouse, now owned by Middlebury College, is where Robert Frost spent his summers for more than two decades. So, yeah. It's kind of special. The kids (and a few adults) trashed the place — destroyed antique furniture and china, carpets stained with puke and urine — and 28 ended up charged with trespassing. Most of them entered pleas, trading their sentences for a combination of fines, community service, and poetry classes. Apparently, prosecutor John Quinn believes in (wait for it... wait for it...) poetic justice. Frost biographer and Middlebury professor Jay Parini agreed to teach the vandals two lessons on Frost's poetry, and made it relevant to the illicit revelers. Today, he joins us to tell us exactly how he did that.

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An interesting punishment, but when will reading poetry stop being a punishement instead of a reward?
I remember in grammar school that we HAD to memorize a poem. Wrong psychology!

Sent by Susanna | 3:04 PM | 7-3-2008

Isn't it insulting to propose the life's work of such an amazing man as punishment? These kids are essentially not even getting a punishment...

Sent by Todd in Charlotte, NC | 3:44 PM | 7-3-2008

all well and fine
what about the parents
these kids should have known better
justice has not been served
fines, court fee's penalties
i do not find this amusing

Sent by Jeffrey Bernstein | 9:54 PM | 7-3-2008

Important to note -- Middlebury College students were NOT responsible for the break-in. It was a group of high school students who live in Middlebury, VT.

Sent by Ben | 12:26 PM | 7-4-2008

I think it isn't so much punishment as it is ENLIGHTEMENT....you know the "two roads"...obliviously they were on the wrong one...

Sent by Hudson Pitts | 2:41 PM | 7-6-2008

They received a valuable lesson not a punishment. Fitting, since these young adults needed enlightenment much more than they needed retribution.

Sent by Suzie | 4:32 PM | 7-6-2008

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