Celebrate+Theodore+Roethke%27s+102nd+Birthday


This weekend Saginaw will be host to a number of events celebrating the birthday of its Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Theodore Roethke.

On Saturday, May 22, from 1:00-1:45 pm, "Party at the Zoo" will take place at the Children's Zoo (1730 S. Washington). The event, which is a collaboration between the Bay Arenac Reading Council and Friends of Theodore Roethke, is based on Roethke's poem of the same title and features poetry readings, games, and animal crackers.

Also on Saturday from 3 to 5 pm, there is an open house at the Roethke House (1805 Gratiot). For $5.00 per person, tours for small groups will be given for poetry walks around Saginaw.

On Sunday, May 23, the Friends of Theodore Roethke will hold a birthday party for the poet, who would have been 102 this year. From 1 to 4 pm at the Andersen Enrichment Center, the celebration will feature cake, ice cream, children's activities, and poetry. Also taking place at the Enrichment Center is the "Rouse for Roethke." The Rouse was originally started by the late Al Hellus as a marathon reading of Roethke's collected works, but has since turned into an annual event of poets and community members sharing their favorite Roethke poems. Poets will also have the opportunity to read some of their own work outside in the rose garden. This year's featured poet is Anita Skeen, director of Michigan State University's Center for Poetry. The entrance fee at the Enrichment Center is only $1.02.

Leaving the Andersen Enrichment Center and starting at 4 pm, there will be a bridge walk over the Court Street Bridge, with poets reading "Saginaw Song" and other Roethke poems along the way. Immediately following the bridge walk, from 5 to 7 pm, attendees will go on a walk along Hamilton Street in Old Town Saginaw, checking out some of Roethke's former haunts and also getting to experience some of his favorite foods and drinks along the way. 

This year's event is made possible in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the National Endowment of the Arts and Hemlock Semiconductor. For more information on the Friends of Theodore Roethke, visit http://roethkehouse.org.