The Somber Dance Theodore Roethke, poet and author, has contributed many well-known pieces to American literature. Roethke wrote close to 200 notebooks worth of poems. Only three percent of the poems in his notebooks were actually published. Most pieces, well-known to the public, are collections of poems such as The Waking, which he won a Pulitzer prize for in the mid 1950s. The Lost Son and Open House are two other collections pieces of Roethke. A couple novels also helped this aspiring author and poet achieve his status among literature; Words for the Wind and The Far Field. All of the works just mentioned were not achieved by Roethke until he was well into his late 20s. As a child, he was hardly one who would have been expected to become a major American poet. Saginaw, Michigan, 1908, Otto and Helen Roethke welcomed their son Theodore into the world. Theodores future relationship with his parents would not be a considerable special one, especially with his father. Otto, a floriculturalist and greenhouse owner would have his mood swings with his two sons. Mood swings increased as Ottos consumption of alcohol increased. On the outside it seemed Theodore could handle his fathers awful drunken and abusive side. Years later, Theodore would express his true pain emotionally and physically in several of his poems. As for Charles, his brother, it was obvious he could not handle the pain. Charles committed suicide when Theodore was 14. Several months afterwards Otto passed away of cancer. These two deaths did not stop Theodore in his tracks. He graduated high school and went onto University of Michigan and later to Harvard for graduate study. Harvard is where Roethke first began to discuss and write poetry openly. Theodores career began as an English instructor at a college in Pennsylvania. Just a few years later he became an English professor at University of Michigan. Roethke wa…
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