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Encyclopedia > Theodore Roethke

Theodore Huebner Roethke (IPA: ['ɹ ɛ t.ki]; RET-key) (May 25, 1908August 1, 1963) was a United States poet, who published several volumes of poetry characterized by its rhythm and natural imagery. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1954 for his book, The Waking. Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... is the 145th day of the year (146th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... is the 213th day of the year (214th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The poor poet A poet is a person who writes poetry. ... This article is about the art form. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Pulitzer Prize in Poetry has been presented since 1922 for a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author. ...



Roethke ws born in Saginaw, Michigan. His father, Otto Roethke, was a German immigrant, who owned a large local greenhouse. Much of Theodore's childhood was spent in this greenhouse, as reflected by the use of natural imagery in his poetry.. The poet's adolescent years were jarred, however, by the death of his father from cancer in 1923 and his uncle's suicide. These both powerfully shaped Roethke's psychic and creative lives. The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken. ...

He attended the University of Michigan and briefly attended law school before entering Harvard University, where he studied under the poet Robert Hillyer. He was then forced to abandon graduate study for economic reasons and became a professor of English. He taught at several universities, among them Lafayette College, Pennsylvania State University and Bennington College. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (U of M, UM or simply Michigan) is a coeducational public research university in the state of Michigan, and one of the foremost universities in the United States. ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League. ... Robert Silliman Hillyer (1895-1965) was a poet and academic, becoming Professor of English at Harvard University. ... Lafayette College is a private coeducational liberal arts college located in Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. The school, founded in 1826 by citizens of Easton, first began holding classes in 1832. ... The Pennsylvania State University (commonly known as Penn State) is a state-related, land-grant university. ... Bennington College is a liberal arts college located in Bennington, Vermont. ...

In 1940, he was expelled from his position at Lafayette and returned to Michigan. Just prior to his return, he had an affair with established poet and critic Louise Bogan, who later became one of his strongest early supporters.[1] While teaching at Michigan State University in East Lansing, he began to suffer from depression, which he used as a creative impetus for his poetry. Lastly, he taught at the University of Washington, leading to an association with the poets of the American Northwest. Louise Bogan (August 11, 1879 - 1970) was an American poet. ... Michigan State University (MSU) is a co-educational public research university in East Lansing, Michigan USA. Founded in 1855, it was the pioneer land-grant institution and served as a model for future land-grant colleges in the United States under the 1862 Morrill Act. ... Location in Michigan Coordinates: , Country United States State Michigan County Ingham & Clinton Counties Incorporation 1907 Government  - Mayor Samir Singh Area  - City  11. ... The University of Washington, founded in 1861, is a public research university in Seattle, Washington. ... Darker red states are always part of the Pacific Northwest. ...

In 1953, Roethke married Beatrice O'Connell, a former student. Roethke did not inform O'Connell of his repeated episodes of depression, yet she remained dedicated to Roethke and his work. She ensured the posthumous publication of his final volume of poetry, The Far Field. In everyday language depression refers to any downturn in mood, which may be relatively transitory and perhaps due to something trivial. ...

Theodore Roethke suffered a heart attack in a friend's swimming pool in 1963 and died on Bainbridge Island, Washington, aged 55. The pool was later filled in and is now a zen rock garden, which can be viewed by the public at the Bloedel Reserve, a 150-acre (60 hectare) former private estate. There is no sign to indicate that the rock garden was the site of Roethke's death. Acute myocardial infarction (AMI or MI), more commonly known as a heart attack, is a disease state that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted. ... Bainbridge Island is an island in Puget Sound, and is an incorporated city in Kitsap County, Washington, United States. ... A karesansui , Japanese rock garden, or Zen garden is an enclosed shallow sandbox containing sand, gravel, rocks, and occasionally grass or other natural elements. ... A 66-acre forest garden made, by the vice-chairman of a lumber company, under the influence of the conservation movement and oriental philosophy. ...

References to Roethke

  • In his 1969 novel Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut includes an excerpt from Roethke's poem, The Waking. Vonnegut writes in the opening chapter, "I had two books with me, which I'd meant to read on the plane. One was Words for the Wind, by Theodore Roethke, and this is what I found in there: I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go". Since the narrator in the opening chapter is Vonnegut himself, the choice of this stanza from The Waking provides an impetus for Vonnegut's journey back to Dresden to confront his memories of the Dresden firebombing.
  • Mia Farrow took the title for her autobiography What Falls Away from the same poem from The Waking.
  • Harold Simonson entitled his collection of autobiographical essays Going Where I Have To Go, in reference to The Waking.
  • Stanley Kunitz recounts Roethke's exuberant recitation of his children's poem, The Cow, for Kunitz's daughter in the poem, Journal for My Daughter ([1]).
  • Frank Herbert, a quote from Dar-es-Balat in one of the last chapters of Heretics of Dune as follows:

The world is for the living. Who are they? Also: 1969 (Stargate SG-1) episode. ... This article is about the literary concept. ... Slaughterhouse-Five; or, The Childrens Crusade: A Duty-Dance With Death is a 1969 novel by Kurt Vonnegut. ... Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. ... The Narrator is the entity within a story that tells the story to the reader. ... In poetry, a stanza is a unit within a larger poem. ... Dresden (Sorbian: Drježdźany; etymologically from Old Sorbian Drežďany, meaning people of the riverside forest, Czech: ) is the capital city of the German Federal Free State of Saxony. ... The bombing of Dresden in World War II by the Allies remains controversial after more than 50 years. ... John le Carré is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell (born October 19, 1931 in Poole, Dorset, England), an English writer of espionage novels. ... The Waking is a poem written by Theodore Roethke in 1953. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... The Russia House is a novel by John Le Carré published in 1989. ... Mia Farrow (born Maria de Lourdes Villiers-Farrow on February 9, 1945) is an American actress. ... Stanley Jasspon Kunitz (born July 29, 1905) is a noted American poet who served two years (1974–1976) as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a precursor to the modern Poet Laureate program), and served another year as United States Poet Laureate in 2000. ... Martin Sheen (born August 3, 1940 as Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez) is an Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning American actor. ... For the signatory of the Declaration of Independence, see Josiah Bartlett. ... The following is an episode list for the NBC serial drama television series The West Wing. ... “The West Wing” redirects here. ... Frank Patrick Herbert (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. ... Heretics of Dune is a 1984 science fiction novel by Frank Herbert, fifth in a series of six novels. ...

We dared the dark to reach the white and warm.

She was the wind when the wind was in my way.

Alive at noon, I perished in her form.

Who rise from the flesh to spirit know the fall:

The word outleaps the world and light is all.

--Theodore Roethke, Historical Quotations: Dar-es-Balat

  • American poet Robert Lowell wrote a poem 'For Theodore Roethke', published in the collection 'Near the Ocean' in 1967.
  • Oliver Stone closes his commentaries for both JFK and Natural Born Killers with a reference to Roethke's In a Dark Time.
  • In "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" by Kim Edwards, Norah Edwards recalls the line, "I wake to sleep and take my waking slow," but can't remember where it came from.
  • The California-based band The Black Watch wrote a song entitled "The Tennis-Playing Poet Roethke Said."

Robert Lowell (March 1, 1917–September 12, 1977), born Robert Traill Spence Lowell, IV, was a highly regarded mid-twentieth-century American poet. ...


  • Open House (1941)
  • The Lost Son and Other Poems (1948)
  • Praise to the End! (1951)
  • Words for the Wind (1958)
  • I am! Says the Lamb (1961)
  • Party at the Zoo (1963) — written for children
  • The Far Field (1964) — published posthumously
  • On Poetry & Craft (1965) - a collection of prose
  • The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (1966) - includes 16 previously uncollected poems but does not include Party at the Zoo

The Waking is a poem written by Theodore Roethke in 1953. ...


  • I Remember Theodore Roethke (2005). Produced and edited by Jean Walkinshaw. SCCtv (Seattle Community Colleges Television). 30 min.

The Seattle Community College District is a group of community colleges located in Seattle, Washington. ...


  1. ^ Lancashire, Ian; Department of English at the University of Toronto (2005). Selected Poetry of Louise Bogan (1897-1970) (HTML). Representative Poetry On-line. University of Toronto Press. Retrieved on 2006-07-19.

Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 200th day of the year (201st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Theodore Roethke

  Results from FactBites:
ArtsEditor: January 2000: Salvaged Poems of Theodore Roethke (1387 words)
Roethke had not been thrown out in the trash, exactly; there was some concession in the promise of being converted.
A native of the foothills of Southeastern Ohio, Plumly adored the bucolic.
Roethke taught at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Papers: Theodore Roethke's "I Knew a Woman" [laze.net] (794 words)
In line 12, Roethke describes himself as a "rake" and her as a "sickle." A sickle is a crude instrument used to plow fields, doing the brunt work, whereas a rake follows the sickle and loosens the ground, putting the debris in neat rows.
Similarly, Roethke is the one "Coming behind her for her pretty sake," as in, he is not really necessary for the job (or here, the relationship), but he's there to try and make some sort of contribution to the relationship.
In line 25 of the poem, Roethke "swear"s she "casts a shadow white as stone." The fact that shadows are always fl, and fl is an archetype for evil and death accentuates the pureness of this woman.
  More results at FactBites »



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