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Theodore Roethke: A Teacher And Poet

714 words - 3 pages

Have you ever heard the name Theodore Roethke? Theodore is an American poet, who has influenced a great many people. He wrote several notable poems such as "The Waking," or "In a Dark Time." In this essay, I will discuss Theodore's life and influence, his teaching, and his poetry. Now, I shall talk on Theodore's life.

First, I shall talk about Theodore's life and his influence on the lives of others. Theodore was born in Saginaw, [Michigan,] on May 25, 1908 (SIRS). Theodore's childhood was quite troubled. Theodore's father was a drunk, and he did little of the fathering that he should have done. Theodore quite often feared that he would turn into his father, and eventually that fear consumed him, and he became his father (Dormaier). Theodore was a small, sickly, sensitive child as well (UW) When Theodore had grown up, and went to college, he drank to fit in with a group of friends who thought that "Brains were sissies," This put more and more internal pressure on Theodore, as he was quite sensitive, but had no one to talk with about his emotions (Poetry Foundation). Eventually Theodore suffered manic bouts of sorts, and suffered from depression. He died from a heart attack while swimming in a friend's pool in 1963. Now, it is time to move onto Theodore's teaching years.

Theodore was an amazing, intense teacher, as well as being a very eccentric teacher. He first taught at Michigan University, and later at University of Washington. As one student fondly recalled, Theodore once said," You've got to have rhythm! I don't care if you want to dance naked in a barn door with chalk in your navel, but you've got to have rhythm!" Another student recalled one day in class when Theodore walked in and said, "Poetry is all about observation. Watch and write down what I do." Theodore then proceeded to do an Irish jig on his desk, before climbing out a third-story window, and making faces at his students, through the windows. Even after Theodore began suffering from his manic bouts, the campus faculty...

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