Theodore Roethke

(1952 words)
  • Stephen Matterson (Trinity College Dublin )

Shortly after Theodore Roethke died from a heart-attack in 1963, two of his friends, Robert Lowell and John Berryman, each wrote memorable elegies. In his Dream Song “A Strut for Roethke”, Berryman wrote “The Garden Master’s gone” (20), while Lowell’s poem “For Theodore Roethke” includes the poignant lines “The black stump of your hand/ just touched the waters under the earth,/ and left them quickened with your name” (2003, 396). Both poems testify to the respect and affection that Roethke had inspired, and they also indicate some of the distinctive qualities of his poetry. Roethke is a masterful poet, and also an elemental one. While his mastery of the craft of poetry, its music and its rhythms, makes him a leading p…

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Matterson, Stephen. "Theodore Roethke". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 April 2011
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]

Related Groups

  1. Confessional Poetry