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Michigan Monday – Saginaw Poet Theodore Roethke

This is the fourth in a series inspired by fellow blogger Catherine Beeman. Catherine is an avid reader and book reviewer with ten years of bookselling experience. This week we feature Saginaw native poet Theodore Roethke. We will be sharing a series of Catherine’s Michigan Monday for the next four weeks.

Regarded as one of the most accomplished and influential poets of his generation, Roethke won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1954 for his book The Waking. He was born in Saginaw Michigan, the son of a German immigrant. There is a Michigan Historical Marker on his birthplace that reads…

Theodore Roethke (1908–1963) 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 in 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 Pennsylvania University awarded him the 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. Roethke died in Washington in 1963. His remains are interred in Saginaw’s Oakwood Cemetery


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