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The Waking

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  40 ratings  ·  4 reviews
120 pages
Published 1953 by Doubleday
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These selected poems from 1933-1953 show Roethke's power as a poet: the deft use of form (as in "My Papa's Waltz") the exacting eye (such as in "Dolor"), etc. What happened in "Praise to the End!", the 1951 collection, though? It seems there that Roethke is trying to be ambiguous for the sake of ambiguity. The tone there is like that of his children's verse, but meaning has disappeared:

"Hear me soft ears and roundy stones!
It's a dear life I can touch.
Who's ready for pink and frisk?
My hoe eats li
Jen Helfand
The whiskey on his breath could make a small boy dizzy but I held on like death such waltzin was not easy. Read that in middle school and the rhythm still sticks.

Also the waking rocks my soul: this shaking keeps me steady.
Tara Frye
I really liked this poem. It talked about waking up very peacefully
Mark Ballinger
Some good ones to come back to:

Epidermal Macabre
Child On Top of a Greenhouse (this one is really fun to read over)
The Lost Son
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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
More about Theodore Roethke...
The Collected Poems Selected Poems The Far Field Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke Words for the Wind: The Collected Verse

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“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.”
More quotes…