Theodore Roethke

Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), an internationally recognized and Pulitzer Prize winning (1954) American poet, was born in Saginaw, a small town located in the heart of Michigan.  In Saginaw, his father and uncle, who lived next door, owned together a floral company and 22 acres of land containing a number of greenhouses.  No wonder that this beautiful surrounding in which the poet spent his growing years nurtured his poetic sensibility.  Fascinatingly, his family, their house, the greenhouses, and the landscape of mid-Michigan became central to a good deal of his poetic experience and an important source of creativity throughout his career.  As he himself suggests, the family greenhouse, where he worked as a young man, is his “symbol for the whole of life, a womb, a heaven-on-earth.”[i]  This exhibit focuses on Roethke’s central Michigan roots and highlights the connection between generative power of the greenhouses and some of Roethke’s celebrated poems. 


Prepared for the Library Juice Academy's Omeka class, the purpose of this exhibit is purely educational. 

All images: Courtesy of Annie Ransford, President, Friends of Theodore Roethke.


[i] Visit Friends of Theodore Roethke Foundation ( for more information.