The Theodore Roethke Musuem in Saginaw, Michigan is planning a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the publication of Open House, Roethke’s first book of poetry, in March 2016. The Museum wants to hear from any and all owners of the 1,000 hand-numbered copies of Open House, which was first published in 1941. The nonprofit group is launching an ownership census of Open House and combining it with a storytelling effort to hear about the journeys each of the books have made in the past 75 years.
“Our goal is to ignite conversation about Roethke’s poetry,” said the group’s vice president, Mike Kolleth. “The fact that each copy of Open House is hand numbered gives each copy a unique personality. We’d like to hear about the books from their owners and what Roethke poem most resonates with them.”
The Museum will feature at least one story about the Pulitzer Prize winning poet’s first book each week on its Facebook page and website throughout 2016.
So, if you’ve got a first edition of Open House floating around your library - institutional or private - contact the Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants whose work is featured online will receive a limited edition 5 x 7 edition Roethke art print.
Don’t own a copy yet and want to get in on the fun? You can find a copy of the first edition online for about $40 and up.
[For more on Roethke, see our post from two years ago about a successful community effort to renovate his childhood home in Michigan into the museum it is today].
[Images provided by the Roethke Museum]