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Theodore Roethke Centenary Celebration

The Center for American Literary Studies, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, School of Music, and Penn State Alumni Association are proud to present:

Theodore Roethke Centenary Celebration

November 6-7, 2008

Left: John Hruschka talks about Roethke's time at Penn State; below Julia Kasdorf reads from her Roethke-inspired poetry; and David Wagoner greets a former classmate from Roethke's class
Article in Poets & Writers

This event recognizes the life of Theodore Roethke (born in 1908), a giant of American literature and poetry who taught at Penn State in the mid-twentieth century.

As part of the Roethke Celebration the Center for American Literary Studies will sponsor a student poetry contest. Cash prizes of $100 will be awarded to the undergraduate and graduate winners.


Thursday, November 6th, 4:00pm, 302 Pond
A poetry reading will feature the finalists for the student poetry contest introduced by Penn State creative writing faculty member and poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf, who will also read from her own Roethke-inspired poems. Furthermore, John Hruschka will share his archival research on Roethke's time at Penn State.

Thursday, November 6, 7:00pm, Robb Hall, Hintz Family Alumni Center

Esteemed poet David Wagoner--a student of Roethke's at Penn State--will give a poetry reading and speak about his experience as Roethke's student. He will be introduced by Aldon Nielsen (read Nielsen's report on the event here).

David Wagoner is the author of seventeen books of poems, most recently Good Morning and Good Night (U. of Illinois Press, 2005) which has been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Pulitzer Prize. He's also written ten novels, one of which, The Escape Artist, was made into a movie by Francis Ford Coppola. Wagoner won the Lilly Prize in 1991 and has won six prizes from Poetry, which has published 171 of his poems, more than any other individual. He was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets for 23 years and edited Poetry Northwest until its closure in 2002.

Friday, November 7, 8:00pm, Esber Recital Hall, Music Building I

The voice faculty of the School of Music will present a recital of settings of Theodore Roethke poems, including songs by American composers Samuel Barber, Ned Rorem and William Bolcom. The recital will also include the premiere of Open House, a song cycle of settings of poems that Roethke wrote while teaching at Penn State, composed by Professor Emeritus Bruce Trinkley. The evening will also include readings of Roethke's poems by Penn State creative writing faculty member and senior poet Robin Becker.

All events are free and open to the public.