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Poetry: May 20, 2020 Issue [#10188]

 This week: Theodore Roethke
  Edited by: Stormy Lady
                             More Newsletters By This Editor  

Table of Contents

1. About this Newsletter
2. A Word from our Sponsor
3. Letter from the Editor
4. Editor's Picks
5. A Word from Writing.Com
6. Ask & Answer
7. Removal instructions

About This Newsletter

This is poetry from the minds and the hearts of poets on Writing.Com. The poems I am going to be exposing throughout this newsletter are ones that I have found to be, very visual, mood setting and uniquely done. Stormy Lady

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Letter from the editor

My Papa's Waltz
by Theodore Roethke

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

On May 25 1908, in Saginaw, Michigan, Otto Roethke and Helen Huebner welcomed son Theodore Huebner Roethke into their family. The Roethke family owned a greenhouse. Roethke spent his childhood with his parents at the green house observing nature. He attended Authur Hill High School. His father Otto died of cancer in 1923. His father's death changed his point of view on life and his creativity. Roethke attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, from 1925 to 1929. He graduated magna cum Lauder. Roethke then went on to take graduate courses at University of Michigan and Harvard Graduate School.

When the Great Depression hit he was forced to quit school. He started teaching at Lafayette College. This is where Roethke began his first book, Open House{\i}. He taught at Lafayette College until 1935 then he went on to teach at Michigan State College. Roethke's career at Michigan State was cut short when he was hospitalized for a mental breakdown. He would struggle with depression from that point on, but said his depression helped him with his writing. In 1936 he started teaching at Pennsylvania State University where he taught for seven years. During his seven years at the university he published pieces in Poetry, the New Republic, the Saturday Review, and Sewanee Review. His first volume Open House {\i} was finally published in 1941.

In 1942 Roethke delivered Morris Gray lectures at Harvard. Then he went on to teach at Bennington College in 1943. His second volume The Lost Son and Other Poems was published in 1948, it included the greenhouse poems. He wrote Open Letter{\i} in 1950, followed by Praise to the End {\i}in 1951. Then wrote an essay, How to Write Like Somebody Else in 1959.

In 1953 Roethke married Beatrice O'Connell. The couple honeymooned at W.A. Auden's villa off the coast of Italy. While there he began editing The Waking: Poems{\i} 1933-1953 which was published later that same year, and won the Pulitzer Prize. The couple went on to travel Europe after their honeymoon. He published Words for the Wind in 1957. The couple travelled back to the United States after two years of travel. In 1963 while visiting friends on Bainbridge Island, Washington Roethke suffered a heart attack. Theodore Roethke died August 1, 1963. His last volume The Far Field {\i} was published posthumously in 1964.

The Storm
by Theodore Roethke


Against the stone breakwater,
Only an ominous lapping,
While the wind whines overhead,
Coming down from the mountain,
Whistling between the arbors, the winding terraces;
A thin whine of wires, a rattling and flapping of leaves,
And the small street-lamp swinging and slamming against
the lamp pole.

Where have the people gone?
There is one light on the mountain.


Along the sea-wall, a steady sloshing of the swell,
The waves not yet high, but even,
Coming closer and closer upon each other;
A fine fume of rain driving in from the sea,
Riddling the sand, like a wide spray of buckshot,
The wind from the sea and the wind from the mountain contending,
Flicking the foam from the whitecaps straight upward into the darkness.

A time to go home!--
And a child's dirty shift billows upward out of an alley,
A cat runs from the wind as we do,
Between the whitening trees, up Santa Lucia,
Where the heavy door unlocks,
And our breath comes more easy--
Then a crack of thunder, and the black rain runs over us, over
The flat-roofed houses, coming down in gusts, beating
The walls, the slatted windows, driving
The last watcher indoors, moving the cardplayers closer
To their cards, their anisette.


We creep to our bed, and its straw mattress.
We wait; we listen.
The storm lulls off, then redoubles,
Bending the trees half-way down to the ground,
Shaking loose the last wizened oranges in the orchard,
Flattening the limber carnations.

A spider eases himself down from a swaying light-bulb,
Running over the coverlet, down under the iron bedstead.
Water roars into the cistern.

We lie closer on the gritty pillow,
Breathing heavily, hoping--
For the great last leap of the wave over the breakwater,
The flat boom on the beach of the towering sea-swell,
The sudden shudder as the jutting sea-cliff collapses,
And the hurricane drives the dead straw into the living pine-tree.

The Sloth
by Theodore Roethke

In moving-slow he has no Peer.
You ask him something in his Ear,
He thinks about it for a Year;

And, then, before he says a Word
There, upside down (unlike a Bird),
He will assume that you have Heard--

A most Ex-as-per-at-ing Lug.
But should you call his manner Smug,
He'll sigh and give his Branch a Hug;

Then off again to Sleep he goes,
Still swaying gently by his Toes,
And you just know he knows he knows.

Thank you all!
Stormy Lady

A logo for Poetry Newsletter Editors

Editor's Picks

The winner of "Stormy's poetry newsletter & contest [ASR] is:

Tennessee Summers  (E)
Childhood memories of a country life.
#2219842 by willow

Tennessee Summers

We were kids catching fireflies

and watching them glow.

Wadin through the creeks

bare foot and slow.

Grandma's in the porch swing

Sipping cold lemonade

It was a Tennessee summer

And we had it made.

We could play all day

be covered in dust

Grandma gave us a bath

In an old wash tub.

The barn where we played

When it got too hot

we swung from the beams

landed in the hay loft.

Grandma's house was simple

And clean as could be

With a garden out back

And a weeping willow tree.

Those childhood days

I would go back again

To the Tennessee summers

Where my life began.

Honorable mention:
"the light show



These are the rules:

1) You must use the words I give in a poem or prose with no limits on length.

2) The words can be in any order and anywhere throughout the poem and can be any form of the word.

3) All entries must be posted in your portfolio and you must post the link in this forum, "Stormy's poetry newsletter & contest [ASR] by June 13, 2020.

4) The winner will get 3000 gift points and the poem will be displayed in this section of the newsletter the next time it is my turn to post (June 17, 2020)

The words are:

time capsule photographs gadgets memories letters songs decades

*Delight* Good luck to all *Delight*


From Silence I See   (E)
Watching the lake from my terrace, the lake shows its many moods. First attempt at Haiku.
#2219943 by Nixie 🦊

 Sudden Change  (13+)
Bard's Hall Entry for May 2020
#2220899 by Prosperous Snow

What We Never Had  (13+)
Love in the age of Coronavirus
#2222138 by Ben Langhinrichs


 Photograph  (E)
"he challenged everything"
#2221743 by jabberwocky

Time Capsule  (E)
Mementos from an era, epoch of isolating terror
#2221974 by L.A. Grawitch

Minutes to Spare  (E)
An empty-nester, shocked by isolation, regrets earlier choices and priorities - (Yama)
#2222088 by 🎼 RRodgersWrites 🎶


Flipped Switch   (E)
A poem based off the song “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Ellish
#2221414 by Miranda Keening

Time Capsule  (E)
Mementos from an era, epoch of isolating terror
#2221974 by L.A. Grawitch

 The One to Blame  (E)
A short poem about an internal struggle through life.
#2222164 by Apologue


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