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Upcoming Poetry Retreat Highlights Works of Saginaw Native Theodore Roethke

Budding writers, nature lovers, creative individuals and literary historians are invited to participate in the inaugural Roethke Poetry Retreat, May 3-5 in Saginaw, hosted by the Friends of Roethke Foundation.

The three-day event will be led by poets Anita Skeen – Professor Emerita in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, where she is Series Editor for the Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize; and Colleen Anderson – Bay City native, award-winning writer and founder of Mother Wit Writing and Design.

The 2024 Roethke Poetry Retreat emphasizes conversations with professional poets, editors, and scholars; writing and revision guidance from experienced instructors; a network of language lovers; and an array of inspiring writing spaces.

Attendees will enjoy exclusive use of the historic Montague Inn’s serene and natural six acres that reach the banks of Lake Linton and the Saginaw River on Ojibway Island, as well as the library at the Inn (with secret rooms). Participants will also have access to Roethke’s childhood home where they are sure to be inspired by his original writing desk, the dining table where sister June typed his manuscripts, and sleeping porch where he spent summer nights are sure to inspire.

Poet Theodore Roethke

Theodore Huebener Roethke was born in Saginaw in 1908 to a German immigrant and gardener who operated a large 25-acre greenhouse on the west side of the Saginaw River. It was in this agricultural and natural setting that young Theodore drew inspiration for his writing, specifically poetry. Regarded as one of the most influential poets of the postmodern era, Roethke was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1954 for his book The Waking. He received the annual National Book Award for Poetry in 1958 for Words for the Wind and posthumously in 1965 for The Far Field. In 2012, Roethke was featured by the United States Postal Service on a stamp designating him as one of the ten greatest American poets.

Participation in the Roethke Poetry Retreat includes a limited number of All-Inclusive registrations—featuring two nights’ accommodations at the historic Montague Inn, as well as meals and all moderator-led writing sessions, lectures and Roethke home tours, for $425 ($395 for Friends of Roethke Foundation members). Up to 23 individuals can participate at the Local rate of $225 ($195 for Friends) with all the activities and the Saturday evening dinner at Jake’s Old City Grill (no lodging; breakfasts available for an additional $15 per person, per day (Saturday/Sunday)).

To register:

The Friends of Theodore Roethke Foundation (FOTR) was established as a 501c3 non-profit in 1999. FOTR has been committed to promoting, preserving, and protecting the literary legacy of Theodore Roethke, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Saginaw native, since the foundation’s inception. They do this by making poetry and literacy initiatives accessible to the general public, both in-person and online. FOTR’s vision is that the Roethke House and Stone House will be sought after places for visitors from around the world, encouraging a culture of literary excellence.

The Roethke Poetry Retreat is made possible by Roethke Foundation, Wheelbarrow Books – an Imprint of the Michigan State University Press, and Promote Michigan, with funding from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council.