Straw for the Fire

Theodore Roethke

At his death, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Theodore Roethke left behind 277 spiral notebooks full of poetry fragments, aphorisms, jokes, memos, journal entries, random phrases, bits of dialog, commentary, and fugitive miscellany. Within these notebooks, Roethke’s mind roved freely, moving from the practical to the transcendental, from the halting to the sublime.
Fellow poet and colleague David Wagoner distilled these notebooks—twelve linear feet of bookshelf—into a wise and rollicking collection that shows Roethke to be one of the truly phenomenal creative sources in American poetry.

ISBN: 9781556592485

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Theodore Roethke was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1908. As a child, he spent much time in the greenhouse owned by his father and uncle. His impressions of the natural world contained there would later profoundly influence the subjects and imagery of his verse. Roethke attended the University of Michigan and took a few classes at Harvard, but was unhappy in school. His first book, Open House (1941), took ten years to write and was critically acclaimed upon its publication. …

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About the Editor

Editor of Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke, David Wagoner is recognized as a leading poet of the Pacific Northwest, often compared to his early mentor Roethke, and highly praised for his skillful, insightful, and serious body of work. The author of more than twenty collections of poetry and ten acclaimed novels, Wagoner has also been awarded the Sherwood Anderson Foundation Award for his fiction. Professor emeritus at the University of Washington, Wagoner was selected to …

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“Prose, verse, and lots of one-liners that are by turns comic, reflective, reactive, philosophical, and more appear in both kinds of assemblage [poetry and prose]. Those denominated poetry are primarily concerned with the stuff of lyrical meditation—the world, time, death, love, beauty, God—whereas those called prose find Roethke ruminating on his vocations as poet and teacher. In the introduction, Wagoner imparts that Roethke greatly admired Blake’s ‘Proverbs of Hell,’ and, indeed, there is a Blakean brilliance of paradox and image in these jottings. A gratifying addition to Roethke’s canon and to American literature.” —Booklist