Theodore Roethke

American poet (1907-1963)

Theodore Huebner Roethke (/ˈrɛtki/ RET-kee;[1] May 25, 1908 – August 1, 1963) was an American poet.

Roethke's parents were German immigrants, who settled in Michigan and started a highly prosperous floral business. He was born in Michigan. He grew up in an atmosphere of greenhouses and plants. These images stayed with him, and he often alluded to it in his work.

He was educated at Michigan State University and then Harvard. He became a teacher and sports coach. He began to publish his poetry later, around 1941, with the publication of Open House. However, according to critics and scholars, he really began to "mature" with his second book, The Lost Son and Other Poems (1948). It was followed by other critically acclaimed volumes.

Roethke joined the University of Washington as a lecturer in 1947. He stayed there until his sudden death in 1963.

Among other prizes and awards, he won the Pulitzer Prize (1953), the Bollinger Prize (1958), and a posthumous National Book Award (1964).