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Book Title: The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke|
The author of the book: Theodore Roethke
ISBN 13: 9780307760470
Date of issue: December 14th 2011
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 738 KB
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Reader ratings: 7.1
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There a several poems by Roethke that I quite like. Once in a while I think he is brilliant. But I've decided I can't read collections of his work. There is too much I don't care for, and too much repetition -- primarily repetition of a mood of self-absorption that gets old fast. Lust, guilt, poor you, whatever. Maybe if you tried actually talking to a woman instead of talking about their bodies and animality and desirability you'd have more luck. Even the poems about his wife (he married in middle age) don't really communicate much about her personality so much as how he was hot for her. Personally, I would not be pleased if my husband described me as a "creaturely creature" or "my lizard, my lively writher."
Roethke reminds me just a little too much of those over-introspective, socially retarded guys in grad school and how I had to explain to them why so-and-so was mad at them or such-and-such action would get them in trouble. And then they'd start thinking I was their friend (by which they really meant a recipient of their speech) and I'd have to say things like "Theodore, dude! You really can't write a poem like that to your underage student! Huh? It's okay because she's dead?! Um, I'm not sure that makes it better... I think her parents might be upset... It would really be better if you... What? No, I don't want to hear a poem about how you masturbated by the pond in the woods! No, really, don't tell me about it!"
But as I said, there are some great passages, and it is always interesting to how an individual's writing evolves over time.
This one reminds me of a slightly darker and dirtier Ogden Nash:
The stethoscope tells what everyone fears:
You're likely to go on living for years,
With a nurse-maid waddle and shop-girl simper,
And the style of your prose growing limper and limper.
My favorite of the ones I hadn't encountered previously is the first poem in the collection, "Open House":
My secrets cry aloud.
I have no need for tongue.
My heart keeps open house,
My doors are widely swung.
An epic of the eyes
My love, with no disguise.
My truths are all foreknown,
This anguish self-revealed.
I'm naked to the bone,
With nakedness my shield.
My self is what I wear:
I keep the spirit spare.
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Read information about the authorTheodore Huebner Roethke was an American 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. Roethke wrote of his poetry: The greenhouse "is my symbol for the whole of life, a womb, a heaven-on-earth." Roethke drew inspiration from his childhood experiences of working in his family's Saginaw floral company. Beginning is 1941 with Open House, the distinguished poet and teacher published extensively, receiving a Pulitzer Prize for poetry and two National Book Awards among an array of honors. In 1959 Yale University awarded him the prestigious Bollingen Prize. Roethke taught at Michigan State College, (present-day Michigan State University) and at colleges in Pennsylvania and Vermont, before joining the faculty of the University of Washington at Seattle in 1947.
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