On Theodore Roethke
The great thing about [Theodore Roethke] was that he knew how to make a good poem out of a bad poem. I like to think that he taught me to do this too. I'm not interested in that sort of perfect Iowa Workshop poem, in which everything eccentric or outrageous has been ironed out: one of those neat little poems that is disposable like Kleenex: you read it once (though you may not finish it) and think, "Very nice," and then you never think about it again. But I can take a great, big, messy, ambitious poem and find its form, and help to shape it up. Ted said many useful things about that kind of poem. One of them was to think of a poem as a three-act play, where you move from one impulse to the next, and then there is a final breath, which is the summation of the action of the whole. He had picked up that wonderful phrase from Sir John Davies which he used in a poem: "She taught me to turn, and counter-turn, and stand." Which is the essence of dramatic structure. It's what a long poem has to do. It doesn't require physical action, but there has to be some mental or emotional action that carries through in the poem.
-Carolyn Kizer, Foreword, On Poetry & Craft by Theodore Roethke (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)