It was a great weekend of poetry happenings in Saginaw, courtesy of Annie Ransford and the Friends of Theodore Roethke, who honored this great American poet with a host of readings and other public events. Friday I finally visited Roethke’s grave at the Oakwood Cemetery–something I’ve wanted to do for some time, where poet and good friend Rosie King, a Saginaw native who has lived for years in Santa Cruz, gave a moving reading, along with Jean Anaporte-Easton. Among the small audience around Roethke’s grave were Tess Gallagher, a former student of Roethke’s, along with Beatrice Roethke Lushington, Roethke’s first wife, who traveled all the way from England to be there, along with her husband Stephen Lushington. Following the graveside reading, we visited Shuch’s Bar, one of Roethke’s local haunts. At dinner, Roethke stared at me from behind a bouquet near the bar, his face framed in a photo near the bar, beside a movie advertisement for The Haunting. Yeah.
Today I read poems at the Andersen Enrichment Center, to close out the weekend’s festivities, along with Qiana Towns, Jason Kahler, Judith Kerman, and Larry Levy. Many, many good poems filled the room, as outside the bay window, a cardinal kept knocking into the glass, repeatedly, for 3 hours, trying to get in. The spirit of Roethke, no doubt.