Theodore Roethke

Excerpt Tuesday – Sensibility! O La! – Theodore Roethke

SensibilityOLaAnother one from the earliest days of the blog. Throughout his life, Mr. Roethke kept extensive notebooks of thoughts, quotes, and ideas for his poems – but he was very selective about what made it into print and his biographer estimated that only 3% of the lines found in those notebooks made it into his poems. After reading his poem “Sensibility! O La!,” “mamorean” became my favorite new word for a while (it means “of marble”) – likewise with the nearly Shakespearean insult “wench of things.” To entice you read the whole poem (here!), it also includes lines such as: “Can a cat milk a hen?” and “that old harpy secreting toads in her portmanteau…” Makes you wonder what else was in those notebooks!  Photograph (looking up at Tara Donovan’s amazing sculpture made entirely of styrofoam cups – “Untitled (2003)”) and composition by me.