Pennsylvania Voices of Addiction: Remembering Theodore Roethke

Theodore Huebner Roethke (1908–1963)

Theodore Huebner Roethke (1908–1963)

The American writer and poet Theodore Roethke (1908-1963) taught at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) from 1936 to 1943, and was known for three things: being a poet, a tennis coach, and falling down drunk—perhaps most for the latter. Roethke was a brilliant and tortured man, who knew well the seduction of alcohol and the agony of addiction.

Journey into the Interior

by Theodore Huebner Roethke
_______________________________

In the long journey out of the self,
There are many detours, washed-out interrupted raw places
Where the shale slides dangerously
And the back wheels hang almost over the edge
At the sudden veering, the moment of turning.
Better to hug close, wary of rubble and falling stones.
The arroyo cracking the road, the wind-bitten buttes, the canyons,
Creeks swollen in midsummer from the flash-flood roaring into the narrow valley.
Reeds beaten flat by wind and rain,
Grey from the long winter, burnt at the base in late summer.
— Or the path narrowing,
Winding upward toward the stream with its sharp stones,
The upland of alder and birchtrees,
Through the swamp alive with quicksand,
The way blocked at last by a fallen fir-tree,
The thickets darkening,
The ravines ugly.

_

Theodore Huebner Roethke on Wikipedia

Image courtesy famouspoetsandpoems.com

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