Theodore Roethke - Life Stories, Books, and Links
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Picture of American poet Theodore Roethke
Theodore Roethke
(1908 - 1963)

Category:  American Literature
Born:  May 25, 1908
Saginaw, Michigan, United States
Died:  August 1, 1963
Bainbridge Island, Washington State, United States
Related authors:
Robert Lowell
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Theodore Roethke - LIFE STORIES
11/12/1935     Roethke, Sick and Well
On this day in 1935, the poet Theodore Roethke was hospitalized for a manic-depressive breakdown, the first of many he would endure. Whatever the causes of his mental problems, Roethke's biographers say that he kept working with characteristic intensity even when ill; one of his psychiatrists said, "I think his troubles were merely the running expenses he paid for being his kind of poet."
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The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke
anthology, poetry
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The Glass House: The Life of Theodore Roethke
by Allan Seager
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A Literary History of the American West
Find an extension collection of essays on oral tradition, literary historiography, genre, the Cowboy in novels and short fiction, ethnic expression American literature, the West in contemporary radio, film, television and print, and other topics. Includes articles on Willa Cather, Robert Bly, Jack London, John Steinbeck, William Saroyan, Theodore Roethke, and many others. Highly recommended.

"Since Theodore Roethke's sudden, untimely death in summer of 1963, his work has been the subject of a steadily rising flood of critical assessments. The consensus of most of them is that his career can best be explained as an intense search for identity, wholeness, and grace. He shaped his private meditations into increasingly powerful esthetic forms that are at once original and charged with echoes from his various American and English poet-masters. A further aspect of Roethke's imaginative vision, however, remains to be adequately explored, namely his significant response to a regional America–-the Midwest of his youth and, climactically, the Pacific Northwest where he lived his final sixteen years."
Academy of American Poets
Offers a biography, poetry, bibliography, and links. The poem "Pickle Belt" is provided, as are selections from I Am! Said the Lamb, and quotations from On Poetry and Craft: Selected Prose of Theodore Roethke.

"As a child, he spent much time in the greenhouse owned by his father and uncle. His impressions of the natural world contained there would later profoundly influence the subjects and imagery of his verse. ... Stylistically his work ranged from witty poems in strict meter and regular stanzas to free verse poems full of mystical and surrealistic imagery. At all times, however, the natural world in all its mystery, beauty, fierceness, and sensuality, is close by, and the poems are possessed of an intense lyricism."
Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database (New York University)
Offers synopses and commentary from a medical perspective on a selection of poems including "My Papa's Waltz," "The Waking ," and "In a Dark Time." Examines such themes as aging, alcoholism, child abuse, death and dying, depression, family relationships, nature, religion, spirituality, suffering, and suicide.
Modern American Poetry
Find a biography, chronology of events in the poet's life, essays on "North American Sequence," and critical analysis of "Cuttings," "The Lost Son," "I Knew a Woman," "The Flight," and "Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, and Frau Schwartz."

"Open House was an important beginning for Roethke as it was favorably reviewed ... W. H. Auden called it 'completely successful.' Not surprisingly, this first work shows the influence of poetic models such as John Donne, William Blake, Léonie Adams, Louise Bogan, Emily Dickinson, Rolfe Humphries, Stanley Kunitz, and Elinor Wylie, writers whose verse had shaped the poet's early imagination and style. Yet the book's subjective focus on personal experience marked an important departure both from T. S. Eliot's doctrine of poetic impersonality, articulated in 'Tradition and the Individual Talent,' (1917), and from what the New Critics W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley later deplored as the intentional fallacy."
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February 24, 2018
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