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Straw for the Fire

4.32  ·  Rating Details ·  135 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews

“There are only two passions in art; there are love and hate—with endless modifications.”—Theodore Roethke

At his death, Theodore Roethke left behind 277 spiral notebooks full of poetry fragments, aphorisms, jokes, memos, journal entries, random phrases, bits of dialogue, commentary, and fugitive miscellany. Within these notebooks, Roethke allowed his mind to rove freely,

Paperback, 264 pages
Published February 1st 1974 by Doubleday Books
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Community Reviews

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Dec 19, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who neurotically save every scrap of paper
Shelves: poetry
Don't get this from the library. It is fun to dip into. There are some wonderful lines. But trying to read straight through a massive collection of fragments that another (*cough*lesstalented*cough*) poet has arranged to sort of form poems is a tad wearisome. My mind kept trying to form connections and meanings that weren't there.
Dec 09, 2011 Kelsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My favorite poet by far. I got this book as a gift when I was 16, and used at least three of his poems as inspiration for my creative writing classes. His poems are beautiful and, though many poets write about nature, his are original, and he uses certain techniques (his use of villanelles and beats per lines especially) that make his poems all the more memorable. This book also includes pages from his notebooks, and though it's quite hard to read some of his handwriting, it's very interesting b ...more
Nov 19, 2007 Kitty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"From Roethke to Goethe isn't really so far// Put a capital G in the capital R --// then knock out small /k/, a quite simple thing -- and you've got a fat cat fixed up like a king."
Exhilarating, complex poetry and comments organized by mood or tone. Like so many suffering from bipolar illness, Roethke poised on the edge of chaos, channels his visceral perceptions and visions into words which ring like church bells, announcing eternal truths.

Oct 22, 2008 Jude rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jude by: the ghost of owens
this was one of the first HARDBACKS i ever bought, the year it came out. it was a big deal.
and my first Roethke - read so often that sections of it feel like a stretched and scattered poem swirling into cohesion. i cannot imagine reading him without meeting the man in these jewels from his notebooks
Stella Wang
Jul 12, 2016 Stella Wang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Discovered his poem on tumblr and thought I would give it try. I enjoyed most part but there are just too many references to Christianity and I'm always confused by the symbolism when I read poems (probably because I'm an Atheist so I don't really know a lot about that).
Favorite poems:
-Heart, You Have No House
-The Middle of A Roaring World
-The Thin Cries of The Spirit
Feb 19, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Issa's Untidy Hut Blog
Shelves: poetry
I'll be dabbling in and in and in this stimulating collection of tibits from Roaethke's notebooks for days and weeks to come. Helps me make sense of my own journals and how I am drawn back into them again and again, like panning for the impossibly tiny flake of gold in the mud.
Aug 22, 2012 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not always as good, and there's many things I see differently than Roethke, yet there's still so much beauty in this book and at more than one place it reminded me of Rilke's Letters To A Young Poet.
Mar 22, 2007 carl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
roethke's poetry is mesmerizing. at times he sounds like a hebrew prophet born again in middle america's red states.
Apr 16, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The trees are breathing less. You, winky, sleep.
I've come to tear the sun out. Save me, mouse.
I'm done with every pretty thing."
Lizbeth D
Love Roethke's work. This book is a collection of his notes and meanderings on various topics. Whether you read it in parts or cover to cover, there is something in here for all.
Johnny Trash
Nov 17, 2008 Johnny Trash rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keepers, poetry, favorites
Notes culled from the hundreds of notebooks and journals Roethke kept. Little morsels of genius and silliness that will help you become a better poet.
Jul 30, 2008 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Although this is a collection of fragments, it is a necessary companion to the collected poems of Roethke. I find myself reading it more often then the published poems!
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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 fa ...more
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