Theodore Roethke Poems

Theodore Roethke was an American poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his 1954 collection. His work has been praised by many poets worldwide as imaginative and influential. He died in 1963 at the age of fifty-five. Read more of Theodore Roethke’s Biography.

Elegy for Jane

by Theodore Roethke

‘Elegy for Jane’ was published in Roethke’s 1953, Pulitzer Prize-winning volume, The Waking. This collection is now considered to be

I Knew a Woman

by Theodore Roethke

‘I Knew a Woman’ by Theodore Roethke describes a relationship between a devoted man and his lover, with whom he is completely obsessed. 

In a Dark Time

by Theodore Roethke

‘In a Dark Time’ by Theodore Roethke is a powerful, short poem about identity. The speaker contends with their mental health while exploring their darkness.

My Papa’s Waltz

by Theodore Roethke

‘My Papa’s Waltz’ by Theodore Roethke is a surprisingly dark poem. It depicts a possibly abusive father who “waltzes” his son to bed.

Night Journey

by Theodore Roethke

‘Night Journey’ by Theodore Roethke is a thoughtful, fairly simple poem about the American countryside. He spends the lines admiring the landscapes one can see by train at night. 

Root Cellar

by Theodore Roethke

‘Root Cellar’ by Theodore Roethke is a short eleven-line poem that describes a variety of disgusting and smelly plant life that exists within a speaker’s root cellar.

The Waking

by Theodore Roethke

‘The Waking’ is a nineteen-line villanelle composed of five tercets and a single quatrain. The poem is mostly written in

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