Quotes by Theodore Roethke

"Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries."

"The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me, so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go."

"What we need are more people who specialize in the impossible."

"Deep in their roots all flowers keep the light."

"By daily dying, I have come to be."


Books by Theodore Roethke

  • Selected Poems
  • 210 ratings
  • April 7th 2005 by Library of America

    (first published 1969)

  • The Far Field
  • 171 ratings
  • September 1st 1998 by Doubleday Books

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Theodore Roethke
  • Theodore Roethke

  • Date of birth: May 25, 1908
  • Died: August 01, 1963
  • Born: in Saginaw, Michigan, The United States.

  • Description: Theodore Huebner Roethke was an American poet, who published several volumes of poetry characterized by its rhythm and natural imagery. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1954 for his book, The Waking. Roethke wrote of his poetry: The greenhouse "is my symbol for the whole of life, a womb, a heaven-on-earth." Roethke drew inspiration from his childhood experiences of working in his family's Saginaw floral company. Beginning is 1941 with Open House, the distinguished poet and teacher published extensively, receiving a Pulitzer Prize for poetry and two National Book Awards among an array of honors. In 1959 Yale University awarded him the prestigious Bollingen Prize. Roethke taught at Michigan State College, (present-day Michigan State University) and at colleges in Pennsylvania and Vermont, before joining the faculty of the University of Washington at Seattle in 1947.