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Theodore Roethke (1908–1963)

Author of The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke

34+ Works 1,849 Members 9 Reviews 31 Favorited

About the Author

Theodore Roethke was a poet and educator. He was born on May 25, 1908 in Saginaw, Michigan. Roethke graduated from the University of Michigan in 1929. He entered Michigan Law School, but withdrew in 1930 to pursue a master's degree in literature at Harvard. Roethke did not complete his degree due show more to financial problems. Roethke worked as an instructor at Lafayette College, Pennsylvania State University, and Bennington College. His 1951 book, Praise to the End, won the Bollington Prize and his 1953 volume, The Waking, Poems 1933-1953, won the Pulitzer Prize. Roethke was also a two-time winner of the National Book Award and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Roethke died on August 1, 1963. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Theodore Roethke

The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke (1966) 953 copies, 6 reviews
Theodore Roethke: Selected Poems (2005) 119 copies, 1 review
On Poetry and Craft (2001) 95 copies
Selected Poems (1969) 32 copies
I am! says the lamb (1961) 16 copies
Open House (1941) 9 copies

Associated Works

The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (2000) — Contributor — 1,279 copies, 9 reviews
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 937 copies, 7 reviews
A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry (1996) — Contributor — 835 copies, 11 reviews
The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990) — Contributor — 767 copies, 3 reviews
The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis (2001) — Contributor — 554 copies, 11 reviews
A Pocket Book of Modern Verse (1954) — Contributor, some editions — 451 copies, 2 reviews
The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology (1992) — Contributor — 394 copies, 3 reviews
The 40s: The Story of a Decade (2014) — Contributor — 281 copies, 5 reviews
The Art of Losing (2010) — Contributor — 206 copies, 21 reviews
Eight American Poets: An Anthology (1994) — Editor, some editions — 182 copies
American Religious Poems: An Anthology (2006) — Contributor — 164 copies, 2 reviews
The Faber Book of Beasts (1997) — Contributor — 141 copies, 1 review
Emergency Kit (1996) — Contributor, some editions — 110 copies, 1 review
Leading From Within: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Lead (2007) — Contributor — 102 copies, 3 reviews
The Norton Book of Friendship (1991) — Contributor — 96 copies
The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition (2003) — Contributor — 69 copies, 1 review
Gods and Mortals: Modern Poems on Classical Myths (1684) — Contributor — 69 copies, 2 reviews
The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink (2012) — Contributor — 64 copies, 1 review
Lament for the Makers: A Memorial Anthology (1996) — Contributor — 52 copies, 1 review
The Ecopoetry Anthology (2013) — Contributor — 49 copies, 1 review
Lapham's Quarterly - Lines of Work: Volume IV, Number 2, Spring 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 30 copies, 2 reviews
Pulitzer Prize Reader (1961) — Contributor — 27 copies
A Good Man: Fathers and Sons in Poetry and Prose (1993) — Contributor — 20 copies, 1 review
Possibilities of Poetry: An Anthology of American Contemporaries (1970) — Contributor — 17 copies, 1 review
Poetry in Crystal (1963) — Contributor — 15 copies
New World Writing: Fourth Mentor Selection (1953) — Contributor — 13 copies
New World Writing: Second Mentor Selection (1952) — Contributor — 12 copies
Men and Women: The Poetry of Love (1970) — Contributor — 8 copies
Nothing Solemn: An anthology of comic verse (1973) — Contributor — 3 copies, 1 review
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 5, January 1976 (1976) — Contributor — 3 copies
Let Us Be Men (1969) — Contributor — 3 copies
New World Writing 19 (1961) — Contributor — 2 copies
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 2, October 1978 (1978) — Contributor — 2 copies
The Best of American Poetry [Audio] (1997) — Contributor — 1 copy
Conversations on the craft of poetry — Contributor — 1 copy

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Common Knowledge

Legal name
Roethke, Theodore Huebner
Birthdate
1908-05-25
Date of death
1963-08-01
Burial location
Buried, Oakwood Cemetery, Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Gender
male
Nationality
USA
Birthplace
Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Place of death
Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA
Cause of death
heart attack
Places of residence
Seattle, Washington, USA
Education
University of Michigan (AB | 1929)
University of Michigan (MA | 1936)
Harvard University
Occupations
poet
professor
tennis coach
children's book author
Relationships
Roethke, Beatrice (wife)
Hillyer, Robert (teacher)
Organizations
Bread Loaf School of English
Chi Phi
Lafayette College (professor ∙ tennis coach)
Pennsylvania State University (professor ∙ tennis coach)
University of Washington (professor)
Michigan State (professor) (show all 7)
Bennington College (professor)
Awards and honors
Bollingen Prize (1959)
Shelley Memorial Award (1961/1962)
American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award ( [1952])
Poetry Society of America Prize (1962)
Pacific Northwest Writers Award (1959)
Longview Award (1959) (show all 22)
Edna St. Vincent Millay Award (1959)
Ford Foundation Grant (1952 ∙ 1959)
National Institute of Arts and Letters grant (1952)
nomination for honorary membership in International Mark Twain Society (1952)
National Institute and American Academy Award in Literature (1952)
Fund for the Advancement of Education fellowship (1952)
Levinson Prize (1951)
Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize (1947)
Guggenheim fellowship (1945 ∙ 1950)
Appeared on a U.S. postage stamp as one of ten, great 20th Century American poets
Phi Beta Kappa
Phi Kappa Phi
American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1956
National Institute of Arts and Letters
Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1954)
National Book Award for Poetry (1959 | 1965)

Members

Reviews

This collection is a mixed bag. I’m rating it with five stars anyway, for when Roethke was good, he was very good. I liked in particular “The Lost Son.” It has a language and themes all its own and gives the feeling it could have been written by no other poet. There are many other fine ones as well. I’m struck by how many good love poems he wrote, as incongruous as they seem in company of those in which he rages in the mire of physical life. Throughout, there is the contention between flesh and spirit and the awareness of death. Many images are recurrent: stone, snail, snake, and the basic elements, especially fire and water. He was also obsessed with birds and—son of the greenhouse—flowers.
A telling line from “What Can I Tell My Bones” seems a key to Roethke’s perceptions and obsessions: “The dead love the unborn.” Roethke is intensely aware that his particular person is part of a great network of being, connected not only to all of nature (animate and inanimate) but to all that came before or will come. His yearning for reconnection with this leads not only to the imagery of rebirth; his longing extends to a recapitulation of evolution. The self-referential “worm,” conventionally in the pen of other writers an expression of self-loathing (at times in Roethke as well), is, for him, a sign of kinship.
Roethke’s nursery poems point in the same direction, a recapturing of simplicity. For the most part, however, these songs of experience-informed innocence don’t work for me. Nevertheless, there are many poems in this book that I’ll return to again and again.
… (more)
 
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HenrySt123 | 5 other reviews | Jul 19, 2022 |
This paperback edition contains the complete text of Roethke's seven published volumes plus sixteen previously uncollected poems. Included are his Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners The Walking, Words for the Wind, and The Far Field.
 
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PSZC | 5 other reviews | May 20, 2019 |
A long-time favorite. I bought this book while in college, and pull it up regularly to reread it.
 
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CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
I was more than a little disappointed in these. Only familiar with one poem, an elegy written for a student of his, which was lovely. This was pretty pricey too, and came without a dust jacket.
 
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unclebob53703 | 5 other reviews | Feb 21, 2016 |

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Statistics

Works
34
Also by
39
Members
1,849
Popularity
#13,916
Rating
4.0
Reviews
9
ISBNs
30
Languages
1
Favorited
31

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