- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Library JournalFirst published by Doubleday in 1972, this volume of arranged poems, prose fragments, memos, and aphorisms reminds readers of the pervasive power of Roethke (1908–63). Editor Wagoner, a former student and a longtime friend of the poet, has taken Roethke's 277 notebooks, dated between 1943 and 1963, and arranged these shards thematically according to his style of "writing poems inside out and/or backwards, frequently across [similar] spans of time." What the reader finds are meditations of a man fully committed to poetry and the processes of writing it. Roethke is sometimes humorous ("Sure I'm crazy/But it ain't easy"), sometimes prophetic ("Body drags soul into the changeable"), and often self-indulgent ("I don't know a thing except what I try to do"). Often suffering from fits of brilliance and terrible depression, he wrote ramblings that are frequently haunting and rich, filled with "a sense that from each image some profound truth might be grasped." There is the impression that even in his breaks from reality, Roethke seems to be on the precipice of something. Even though much of what is arranged here moves from despair to euphoria and assorted miseries between, he says, "There'll be plenty of room in eternity for us all." Highly recommended.