By McCormick, Thomas James
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Extra resources for A partial edition of "Les fais des Rommains"
Contact with nature has been established, and the poet has found his identity in relation to nature, not outside of it. Once the self gathers enough stability to engage nature in vital conflict, the transcendental journey out of the self begins. Roethke accomplished this selfhood in the Praise to the End! poems and the wonderful love elegies of his middle period (“Words for the Wind” and “Four for Sir John Davies” especially). His last volume comprises that “long journey out of the self,” for in this book, The Far Field, Roethke’s transcendental glimmerings find ultimate expression: Near this rose, in this grove of sun-parched, wind-warped madronas, Among the half-dead trees, I came upon the true ease of myself, As if another man appeared out of the depths of my being, And I stood outside myself, Beyond becoming and perishing, A something wholly other, As if I swayed out on the wildest wave alive, And yet was still.
This fact is easily blurred by the radical stylistic changes which occur at various stages in his career. These changes remain, it appears, superficial; the poet merely extends or refines his chosen subject. The second chapter focuses on the apprentice years, the decade preceding Open House, when Roethke discovered a poetics, a Romantic poetics, and learned about poetry-as-collaboration. He learned the art of creative imitation from his mentors, Rolfe Humphries, Louise Bogan, and Stanley Kunitz; this attitude would allow him throughout his career to be strongly influenced, but not overpowered, by other poets.
CP, p. ”25 “The Lost Son” poem itself describes the loss and partial restoration of unity, and the sequence of poems that follows traces the regressive journey of the poet-protagonist from adolescence back to the womb, into the perfect state of bliss that precedes the fall into creation. After The Waking (1953) Roethke begins “the long journey out of the self” (CP, p. 193) which takes him through the antithetical quest of his Yeatsean period into the Whitmanesque last poems of The Far Field. The details of this journey, archetypal in poetry, are the subject of this study.
A partial edition of "Les fais des Rommains" by McCormick, Thomas James