Biography of Theodore Roethke
Theodore Roethke (1908-1963). Born in Saginaw,
Michigan, Roethke was the son of a greenhouse owner; greenhouses
figure prominently in the imagery of his poems. He graduated magna
cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1929, where he also
earned an M.A. in 1936 after graduate study at Harvard. He taught
at several universities, coached two varsity tennis teams, and
settled at the University of Washington in 1947.
Intensely introspective and demanding of
himself, Roethke was renowned as a great teacher, though sometimes
incapacitated by an ongoing manic-depressive condition. His collection
The Waking: Poems 1933-1953, won the Pulitzer Prize in
1954. Other awards include Guggenheim Fellowships in 1945 and
1950, and a National Book Award and the Bollingen Prize in 1959
for Words for the Wind (1958).