Theodore Roethke: Contribution as American Poet

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      Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), was born in Saginaw, Michigan, and educated at the University of Michigan and at Harvard. His first volume of poetry Open House was published in 1941. In it, as much as in his early works, he returns to the landscapes of his childhood as a means of reconstructing transcendent moments of ‘waking’. His second volume of poems The Lost Son and Other Poems appeared in 1948. In 1954 he received the Pulitzer Prize for the Waking Poems - 1933-1953 (1953) Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse of Theodore Roethke (1957) won him the 1958 Bollingen Prize and 1959 National Book Award. He was the son of a greenhouse owner. Theodore evolved a special language evoking the “green house world” of tiny insects and unseen roots:

“Worm, be with me.
This is my hard time.”

      Roethke love poems in Words for the Wind (1958) celebrate the beauty and desire with innocent passion: One poem begins:

“I renew a women, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them.”

      Sometimes his poems seem like nature’s shorthand or ancient riddles: “Who stunned the dirt into noise? Ask the mole, he knows.” His later volumes, which include good deal of love poetry, are I Am Says the Lamb (1961), Sequence, Sometimes, Metaphysical Poems (1963) and The Far Field (1964). Two collections of prose pieces appeared posthumously The Contemporary Poet as Artist and Critic (1964) and On the Poet His Craft: Selected Prose (1965).

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