Theodore Roethke Museum

Preserving and promoting the legacy of the great American poet, Theodore Roethke. 



Bringing the Past Home

Gallagher was a student in Roethke’s last class before his death in 1963 and will travel with her good friend and fellow poet, Alice Derry, to Saginaw, Michigan, where the two Northwest poets will spend a morning at Roethke House conducting a writing workshop for Saginaw high school students before traveling to Michigan universities. The two will offer readings from and discussions about their latest publications at Saginaw Valley State University, Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, and Delta College to complete their nine day tour.

Just as Roethke’s poetic inspiration influenced his student Tess Gallagher to become a writer, she will share this poetic inspiration with students in Roethke’s hometown Saginaw and Midwest region, bringing the past home by creating a circle, a “Journey within a journey.” – T Roethke

Bringing the Past Home Main Event Brochure »

Bringing the Past Home: Terry BlackHawk Event Brochure » 



As part of our commitment to the memory of Theodore Roethke, the Friends of the Theodore Roethke Foundation take great pride in being actively involved in our community. We have provided ongoing opportunities since 1998, often through grants from groups such as the Saginaw Community Foundation, Saginaw Community Enrichment Commision, and the Michigan Humanities Council. Our goal is for the Roethke House to serve a catalyst for community-based education.

The Friends coordinated a Centennial Celebration from May 2008-May 2009 in Saginaw, funded in part by a grant form The National Endowment for the Arts. [link to NEA grant] David Wagoner, poet, friend and former student of Roethke, presented First Class, his one-act play about Roethke as well as leading workshops and reading his own poetry. Other events included children‘s poetry at the zoo, a Rouse for Roethke, centennial walks across the Court Street Bridge, and visits to Roethke‘s grave.

Here are other highlights of our community involvement

  • Writing workshops open to the community

  • Oral history projects involving area seniors, including nursing home residents

  • Presentations and tours of the Roethke House for area groups

  • Tours of Roethke's Saginaw including local landmarks and Oakwood Cemetery

  • Literary picnics featuring area authors, art, musicians and restaurants

  • Landscapring by Master Gardeners


Since 1998, the Friends of Theodore Roethke Foundation has collaborated with area schools, colleges and universities, and other organizations to promote Roethke's legacy. Grants from the Saginaw Community Foundation, Saginaw Community Enrichment Commission, Watson Foundation, Michigan Humanities Council, Saginaw Bay Writing Project, and others have helped support these projects. If you are interested in developing an educational program, contact us at or 989-280-6499.

Writing Workshops Numerous writing workshops have been offered at the Roethke House for elementary, secondary, and college students. Typically, students read and study some of Roethke‘s poems, particularly those drawing from his childhood with connection to the area, tour the house, learn a few poetic techniques, draft their own writing onsite, and then revise and publish their work. Specialized workshops have included a father and son writing workshop and a drawing and writing workshop.

Oral History Projects Secondary students have interviewed Saginaw elders to prepare historic perspectives on Roethke‘s Saginaw, funded in part by the Michigan Humanities Council. [link to MHC grant]

Poetry Readings Visiting poets, including those from the Rustbest Roethke Professional Writers‘ Workshop, have read at the Roethke House.

Open Houses for Teachers Area teachers and participants in the Saginaw Bay Writing Project have toured and participated in specialized writing workshops.

Local History Local students learn about early 20th century Saginaw. Secondary German students participate in a German Christmas.

Service Learning Projects University students have written newsletters, publicity, and grants. Elementary, secondary, and college students have been tour docents, and assisted with programs, fund-raising, and house and garden maintenance.