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Theodore Roethke

(1908 - 1963 / Michigan / United States)

Theodore Roethke
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Theodore Huebner Roethke was born in Saginaw, Michigan, the son of Otto Roethke and Helen Huebner, who, along with an uncle owned a local greenhouse. As a child, he spent much time in the greenhouse observing nature. Roethke grew up in Saginaw, attending Aurthur Hill High School, where he gave a speech on the Junior Red Cross that was published in twenty six different languages. In 1923 his father died of cancer, an event that would forever shape his creative and artistic outlooks. From 1925 to 1929 Roethke attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduating magna cum laude. Despite his family’s wish that he pursue a legal career, he quit law school after one semester. From there ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''The self persists like a dying star,
    In sleep, afraid.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Meditation at Oyster River (l. 24-25). . . Modern American Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (8th rev. ed., 1...
  • ''The whisky on your breath
    Could make a small boy dizzy;
    But I hung on like death;
    Such waltzing was not easy.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. My Papa's Waltz (l. 1-4). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ...
  • ''When I saw that clumsy crow
    Flap from a wasted tree,
    A shape in the mind rose up:''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Night Crow (l. 1-3). . . Oxford Book of Short Poems, The. P. J. Kavanagh and James Michie, eds. Oxford Un...
  • ''Wheels shake the roadbed stone,
    The pistons jerk and shove,
    I stay up half the night
    To see the land I love.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Night Journey (l. 24-27). . . New Yorker Book of Poems, The. (1969) The Viking Press. (Paperback edition ...
  • ''Nothing would give up life;
    Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.''
    Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), U.S. poet. Root Cellar (l. 10-11). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed...
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