Theodore Roethke


Theodore Huebner Roethke ( / ˈ r ɛ t k i / RET -kee ; [1] May 25, 1908 – August 1, 1963) was an American poet. He published several volumes of award-winning and critically acclaimed poetry. Roethke is regarded as one of the most accomplished and influential poets of his generation. [2]

The whiskey on your breath Could make a small boy dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. We romped until the pans Slid from the kitchen shelf; My mother's countenance Could not unfrown itself. The hand that held my wrist Was battered on one knuckle; At every step you missed My right ear scraped a buckle. You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt.

'Heron' and 'The Waking' are studio recordings while the other poems form an interesting contrast, being recorded live at the height of the poet's powers in the 1950s. Roethke is on tremendous form, relaxed in front of his audience, his resonant voice full of energy as it drives through the poems.

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