Monday, 25 May 2015

Wondrous Metaphysical Depth

Zulfikar Ghose rediscovers the work of Theodore Roethke:
There are some reputations that fall into cryonic hibernation and are brought back to life when the epidemic of neglect and forgetfulness has passed. One of the American poets whose books I looked at again was Theodore Roethke (pronounced “Rhett-key”) who died aged 55 a few months after Plath in 1963. I had never doubted his major status and not having re-read him for some years, my high estimation of him was based largely on the retrospective pleasure that performs its charming dance in one’s memory from time to time when we remember past happiness. Now re-reading him more than confirmed that former high regard: some of the poems in his last book, ‘The Far Field’, are the work of an extraordinary imagination and constitute poetry of a wondrous metaphysical depth. One would have to go back to Eliot’s ‘Four Quartets’ to find poetry of comparable beauty.

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