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The Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke Paperback – December 10, 1974

4.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


The Abyss
The Adamant
Against Disaster
All Morning
All The Earth, All The Air
The Apparition
The Auction
Ballad Of The Clairvoyant Widow
The Bat
The Beast
Big Wind
The Boy And The Bush
Bring The Day
The Ceiling
The Centaur
The Chair
The Changeling
Child On Top Of A Greenhouse
The Chums
The Coming Of The Cold
The Cow
Cuttings (later)
The Cycle
The Decision
The Donkey
Double Feature
The Dream
The Dying Man
Elegy For Jane
Epidermal Macabre
The Exorcism
The Favorite
Flower Dump
The Follies Of Adam
Forcing House
Four For Sir John Davies: 1. The Dance
Four For Sir John Davies: 2. The Partner
Four For Sir John Davies: 3. The Wraith
Four For Sir John Davies: 4. The Vigil
Fourth Meditation
Frau Bauman, Frau Schmidt, And Frau Schwartze
The Gentle
The Geranium
Give Way, Ye Gates
The Gnu
Gob Music
The Happy Three
The Harsh Country
Heard In A Violent Ward
Her Becoming
Her Longing
Her Reticence
Her Time
Her Words
Her Wrath
The Heron
Highway: Michigan
The Hippo
His Foreboding
I Cry, Love! Love!
I Knew A Woman
I Need, I Need
I Waited
I'm Here
In A Dark Time
In Evening Air
In Praise Of Prairie
Judge Not
The Kitty-cat Bird
The Lady And The Bear
The Lamb
Last Words
A Light Breather
The Light Comes Brighter
Light Listened
Light Poem
Lines Upon Leaving A Sanitarium
The Lizard
The Lizard
The Long Alley
Long Live The Weeds
The Lost Son
Love's Progress
Lull (november 1939)
The Manifestation
The Marrow
The Meadow Mouse
Meditation In Hydrotherapy
Meditations Of An Old Woman
Mid-country Blow
The Minimal
The Mistake
The Moment
The Monotony Song
The Motion
My Dim-wit Cousin
My Papa's Waltz
Myrtle's Cousin
Night Crow
Night Journey
No Bird
North American Sequence: Journey To The Interior
North American Sequence: Meditation At Oyster River
North American Sequence: The Far Field
North American Sequence: The Long Waters
North American Sequence: The Longing
North American Sequence: The Rose
O Lull Me, Lull Me
O, Thou Opening, O
Old Florist
Old Lady's Winter Words
On The Quay
On The Road To Woodlawn
Once More, The Round
Open House
Orders For The Day
The Other
The Philander
Pickle Belt
The Pike
Praise To The End
Prayer Before Study
The Premonition
The Pure Fury
The Reckoning
The Reminder
The Renewal
The Reply
Reply To A Lady Editor
Reply To Censure
The Restored
The Return
The Right Thing
River Incident
Root Cellar
A Rouse For Stevens
The Saginaw Song
Sensibility! O La!
The Sensualists
The Sententious Man
The Sequel
The Serpent
The Shape Of The Fire
The Shimmer Of Evil
The Shy Man
The Signals
The Siskins
The Sloth
Slow Season
The Small
The Snake
The Song
Song For The Squeeze Box
The Storm
Supper With Lindsay
The Surly One
The Swan
The Thing
To My Sister
The Tranced
The Tree, The Bird
The Unextinguished
Unfold! Lunfold!
Vernal Sentiment
Verse With Allusions
The Visitant
The Voice
The Wagtail
The Waking
The Waking
A Walk In Late Summer
Weed Puller
The Whale
What Can I Tell My Bones
Where Knock Is Open Wide
Wish For A Young Wife
Words For The Wind
The Yak
The Young Girl
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder® --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

This paperback edition contains the complete text of Roethke's seven published volumes plus sixteen previously uncollected poems. Included are his Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners The Walking, Words For The Wind, and The Far Field.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor Books (January 10, 1975)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385086016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385086011
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have always been transfixed by this man's poetry. Roethke possessed a way of speaking in his poetry that was both confessional and deeply spiritual. He was beyond doubt one of the greatest American poets of the 20th Century. Some of his poems, like Journey to the Interior, The Far Field, The Lost Son, and so many others create an almost religious experience in the reader.
Roethke suffered from bipolar disorder throughout most of his life, and this experience (extreme emotional ups and downs) colored his vision of the world around him. But there is no trace of self-pity, and no great emphasis on depression or death. Instead, love, time, age, and the mystery of life are the themes of his poetry. He saw life as a religious experience, and was essentially a pantheist at heart.
This is a book to give as a gift to some Seeker, if you are lucky enough to know someone who fits into that category. It's a book to guide, inform, and heal a life.
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Format: Paperback
"A late rose ravages the casual eye," writes Roethke in A Walk in Late Summer, "a blaze of being on a central stem." In such images we see the symbols of nature fully tapped in modern poetry -- and tapped in American English, in fresh, vivid language that overpowers the reader with its grace and presence. The poetry of Theodore Roethke is written by a man profoundly alive -- skirting the edge of suicide, losing his voice in the awe of love, reeling wildly in the throes of "the pure fury," and looking at last with calm eyes into infinity and his own undoing in the Far Field. Roethke was a true descendent of Whitman where the latter wrote "This is no book / Who touches this touches a man." But Roethke's poetry moves us as much by its lyrical language as by the power and wisdom of its experience. Roethke himself was, as represented by his art alone, a "blaze of being."

Among Roethke's contributions to literature are his poems that treat depression. Far from letting his manic episodes paralyze him, he used them to write some his most intense poetry. "In a Dark Time" is one of the immortal poems of the 20th century, worthy to be set aside a Van Gogh painting. Roethke was not alone in treating these subjects: two other Pulitzer Prize-winning poets of his time, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, learned from him and wrote about similar themes. But Roethke's writing stands out in two ways from these poets and other poets the 50's and 60's.

One is the unity of his work and vision -- this Collected Poems traces a single spiritual journey beginning with his childhood memories of the greenhouse, and ending somewhere among "the windy cliffs of forever", last visions tragically cut short by his early death.
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Format: Paperback
I love Roethke and I can't stop loving him. His words, phrases, rhythms, thoughts, feelings and meditations stick with me. I will go a year or two without reading his work, but he is still there shaping the way I see the world. His poetry occupies the same space in my mind as Brian Eno's transcendent work On Land. It's meditative, quiet, and joyful and yet, sweaty, ominous, and alarming, all at the same time.
The Far Field (North American Sequence) incarnates this feeling for me. Roethke meditates on his own mortality (don't all poets?) and finds a vast encompassing love for life. A love not only for the "growing rose," but also, seemingly for the summer heat and the stench of dead buffalo, "their damp fur drying in the sun." He sees beauty in nature but also "redolent disorder" and he calls life "This ambush, this silence."
I agree with him.
Roethke proclaims a love for life which is similar to Nietzsche's concept of the Eternal Recurring. That is, he has learned to love life, the good and the evil, to such an extent that he would have it recur again and again, eternally. This kind of love is not a love for evil, rather it is a willingness to sit behind the window of one's pain and still look out and see the beauty. This takes great courage.
Roethke's influences are obvious. What American poet could escape Whitman and his lineage, Thoreau, Henry Miller, etc.? I'm sure he read his fair share of Nietzsche. I also note, Roethke's style seems to have changed drastically towards the end of his life. I believe this was probably partly in reaction to the Beats. However, in my opinion he swallows the Beats whole and makes something new of them. Roethke's verse also periodically has the ring of Wallace Stevens, and sometimes Robert Frost.
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By A Customer on September 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Theodore Roethke is a poet I discovered while reading an anthology in college as a freshman. Writing about a wide continuum of subjects that range from the natural landscape to the convoluted paths of love, Roethke's poems are compelling and still applicable to our time. However, he does have a tendency to be quite abstruse, especially in such poems as "Forcing House" and "O Lull Me, Lull Me." Roethke's persistent examination of nature and its meaning to him, though, is engaging and imaginative; it was my most favorite aspect of his poems. Take, for example, the following lines from "The Waking" (different than the vilanelle, this one is in The Lost Son): "And all the waters/ Of all the streams/ Sang in my veins/ That summer day." The poet's intricate observations, too, make his poetry powerful and a treat for the senses. If you are patient and don't mind reading his poems a few times over to get their jist, Roethke is for you.
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