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Friday, March 2, 2007

A Trip to the Swimming Pool That Killed Theodore Roethke

posted by on March 2 at 10:35 AM

First, check out this awesome ink-and-paint portrait of the great Northwest poet Theodore Roethke, as depicted from the bottom of the swimming pool he died in, minutes after his death in 1963. The artist is the sublimely talented Tra Seltrow.


Then, read Brendan Kiley’s piece about going to find this very swimming pool, which is located right near where Kiley grew up on Bainbridge Island and, actually, isn’t a swimming pool anymore…

Roethke—who taught poetry at the University of Washington and was large, vivacious, and a heavy drinker—was by the pool with Mrs. Bloedel and her daughter one summer afternoon, fixing mint juleps. Mrs. Bloedel went to the main house for towels or a telephone call or something. The daughter followed. When they returned, the poet was floating face down in the water. Three perfect mint juleps sat on a table by the edge of the pool. The family, grieved by the death of their friend, filled in the pool and turned it into a Zen rock garden. There is no plaque.


RSS icon Comments


Uhhhh... Enjoy what? There is no picture as I write this.

Posted by Julia | March 1, 2007 5:51 PM

The image "" cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

So saith Our Lord Firefox.

Posted by Fnarf | March 1, 2007 6:14 PM

Was it a pool of milk?

Posted by monkey | March 1, 2007 6:16 PM

Really? Wow. I've been to Bloedel and have walked through the Zen garden. It's beautiful.

Posted by Brad | March 1, 2007 8:47 PM

your picture does not show. fix it, dumbass.

Posted by seattle98104 | March 1, 2007 9:01 PM

@5 -- manners!

Posted by fixo | March 1, 2007 9:39 PM

It works on Safari!

Stand by for technical assistance...

Posted by christopher Frizzelle | March 1, 2007 9:45 PM

In the meantime:

From Thomas Townhip MI (Roethke was a michigander) - the Roethke park swimming pool. Seems like tempting fate to me.

And from the Columbia School of Law - a picture of Theodore Roethke himself:

He's pretty hot for poet who has been dead for almost 45 years.

Posted by kinaidos | March 1, 2007 10:26 PM

The zen garden at Bloedel:

It doesn't look like a particularly good place to sit and read poetry. It does however look like a nice place to crochet a hat. Nothing short of meditation itself puts one quite so close to the dead as does needlework.

Posted by kinaidos | March 1, 2007 10:48 PM

@7.. yeah let me just load up safari here on my windowz work box... oh wait, can't.

How long will this technical blunder be allowed to live?

p.s. I don't even use the safari (aka shit) browser on my G5 tower or my Macbook, firefox IS god.

Posted by seattle98104 | March 2, 2007 8:18 AM

Well, the post has moved to the top, but the pic still contains errors. Byte order?

Posted by Fnarf | March 2, 2007 10:40 AM

I'm wondering if the pic just worked on CF's computer, because it was on his computer and not the Internets. Just a thought. Either way, the suspense is killing me!

Posted by Levislade | March 2, 2007 10:43 AM

load this supposed "picture" in photoshop, or GIMP and save copy as jpg, or save for the web(as jpg), there is something corrupt in your image file, so re output it.

Posted by seattle98104 | March 2, 2007 10:48 AM

Sometimes I think you hipsters use shitty browsers like Safari and Opera just to fuck with web developers like me.

I understand that IE undermines your hipster credentials, so why can't you settle on a cool, high-quality, non-conformist Mozilla browser like Firefox? It would make the web a better place.

Posted by Sean | March 2, 2007 10:52 AM

Just to test, I opened it up in Safari. It did in fact work, but I think I'd built the picture up in my mind... was not impressed.

Posted by Colin | March 2, 2007 11:04 AM

@14 for realz. I don't understand how you could own a mac, use safari, and not want punch your computer in the face. Safari is not standards compliant. Just because apple provides it, doesn't mean it ain't broke.

Get your ass some firefox.

p.s. thanks for fixing the image.. finally.

Posted by seattle98104 | March 2, 2007 11:04 AM

kinaidos @ 8,

Whoa, you're right. He was quite a handsome dude back in the day.

Note to all you hotties out there: Please don't let yourselves go.

Posted by Original Andrew | March 2, 2007 11:23 AM

Sorry, Original Andrew; for me it's too late.

Posted by Fnarf | March 2, 2007 11:24 AM

That reflecting pool is one of my most favorite places - and I had no idea that Roethke died there!
Time for a trip back with a new perspective...

Posted by scharrera | March 2, 2007 1:23 PM

Is that painting painted at the bottom of the pool where Bloedel drowned? That would be cool.

Oh, and Firefox rules.

Posted by elswinger | March 2, 2007 1:37 PM

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