Arts A Trip to the Swimming Pool That Killed Theodore Roethke
posted by March 2 at 10:35 AMon
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.