Theodore Roethke


I first learned about Roethke from a quotation I read in high school… while harvesting such quotations from AOL personal ads.  The quotation was from In A Dark Time: “What’s madness but nobility of soul, at odds with circumstance?”

I understand that Roethke really was rather mad.  He actually spent time in mental hospitals and did rather strange things, like stripping naked and dancing a jig on top of a desk (in his poetry classroom).

What I love about him…  I don’t know, his rhythm and questions and imagery just draw me in like no other poet.  And he’s clearly been fighting his demons, exploring the existential dilemma…  He’s a good pioneer to follow when it comes to that.