Roethke Poetry Analysis

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Roethke was heavily inspired by his contemporaries, often creating work that sounded like it could have been written by another poet. One of Roethke’s inspirations, T.S. Elliot, said “the only way to manipulate English verse is by assimilation and imitation” (“Theodore" Contemporary). He truly believed this, and found his inspiration by imitating those who inspired him. Another influencer of his was W. H. Auden. Roethke copied his style, which was direct, without distracting elements. He also adopted his use of objective language in both of his poems: “The Lost Son” and “Praise to End”. At the time of Dylan Thomas’s fame, Roethke adapted his style. Roethke admired Thomas’s feelings of union of life and being, and while contemplating on these…show more content…
It was published in 1941, between his two manic episodes, and shocked readers because of it’s “mature style”. His deep contemplation is reflected in his works. This collection contained mostly poems inspired by other poets, such as Auden, Frost, Dickinson, and Yeats, or other Metaphysical Poets (“Theodore H.”). It was praised by critics including Auden and Holmes for the use of comparisons and analogies. Shortly after the publication of his first collection, Roethke felt he had hit a dry spell. He said modern poetry had been “cursed with too many well-written poems” (Pekrins). It was during his writer’s block that Roethke began to ponder on his emotions, and how they were developed from his childhood. Roethke’s realizations of the outside elements of his poems inspired him to develop his second work, which would be published in 1948. The Lost Son and Other Poems is a collection of poems that focuses on memories from his childhood (“Theodore H.”). Roethke shows his struggle of identity as a child, which reflects how he established his identity as a poet. Through the reflections of this work Roethke found his own voice and vision (“Theodore" Contemporary). This collection included “My Papa’s Waltz”, written about Otto Roethke. Many of the ideas in The Lost Son were inspired by the Greenhouse of his childhood, focusing on the growing of nature, and containing many paradoxes. These poems used rhymes associated…show more content…
Poems from many other American poets such as Richard Hugo, Robert Bly, James Wright, and James Dickey, and even that of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, “bear Roethke's imprint” (Hickman). Roethke taught poets how to commit their ideas to the earth and the communion with the natural world in a way that had never been done before (Hickman). He is said to have “elaborated a mode of American poetry that makes human experience accountable to natural and physical landscapes” (Hickman). His impression on the poetry world would change it forever. Toward the end of his life, Roethke’s life had been taken over by the manic depression. Along with this, he also began to suffer alcoholism, and periods of manic excitement. Although he suffered, he continued to write, and truly believed his writing was good. Theodore Roethke suddenly died of a heart attack in Seattle in 1963, while at a swimming party with friends. But at the end of his life, Roethke personally believed he was a happy

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