Theodore Roethke

After dinner yesterday my daughters wanted to go to Barnes & Noble to do homework. I had homework, too, but the books seduced me away from the table. I stumbled upon this quotation, in Sophy Burnham's For Writers Only, which is surely the very next gift for the writer in your life:

"I was in the particular hell of the poet: a longish dry period. It was 1952, I was forty-four, and I thought I was done. I had been teaching the five-beat line for weeks--I knew quite a bit about it, but write it myself--no: So I felt myself a fraud.

"Suddenly, in the early evening, the poem 'The Dance' started, and finished itself in a very short time--say thirty minutes it was all done. I felt, I knew, I had hit it. I walked around and I wept; and I knelt down--I always do after I've written what I know is a good piece. But at the same time I had, as God is my witness, the actual sense of a Presence--as if Yeats himself were in that room. The house was charged with a psychic presence: the very walls seemed to shimmer. I wept for joy." -Theodore Roethke

Here's a link to Burnham's website: