The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

May 25, 2013

May 25, 1908

Theodore Roethke (May 25, 1908 to August 1, 1963). This American poet, was born in Saginaw, Michigan from folk he described as "austere German Americans [who] turned their love of order and their terrifying efficiency into something beautiful." Roethke is widely regarded, by his fellow artists, as a great poet. Auden praised his writing. So did Edith Sitwell. He was certainly not an artist who was ahead of his time.

In a poem "Where knock is open wide" Roethke wrote

A kitten can
Bite with his feet.
....

Roethke told his students that a function of poetry was to "give a cat its right name." And perhaps that is why he discarded this line from a draft---

A piece of a mouse/ The cat wouldn't eat.

We learn these details from his biography, The glass house: The life of Theodore Roethke, by Allen Seager (1968). Roethke won a Pulitzer for his poetry in 1954.

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