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About Roethke

Theodore Roethke was born on May 25, 1908, in Saginaw, Michigan. He attended Arthur Hill High School, graduated from the University of Michigan with honors, and completed graduate work at Harvard. He wrote nine books of poetry, one book of prose, and two children’s books.

Among his many prizes were two National Book Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, the latter awarded to his collection The Waking (1954). At the time of his death, Roethke had won more prizes than any other American poet. He was given the regent’s appointment as Poet in Residence at the University of Washington and awarded an honorary doctor of letters from the University of Michigan in 1962. Roethke’s poetry is translated into more than 13 languages. He died in 1963.

The Roethke house front porch

Theodore Roethke's childhood home in Saginaw

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Theodore Roethke as a young boy

Theodore Roethke

As a child near the family greenhouse

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Theodore Roethke lecturing in a classroom

Theodore Roethke

Teaching a poetry class at the University of Washington

Theodore Roethke sitting at his desk

Theodore Roethke

At his home in Seattle, Washington