Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Paulette Roeske  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: Bloomington, Illinois

-- Paulette Roeske on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection


Biographical and Professional Information

For many years, Paulette Roeske served on the board of The Poetry Center of Chicago at the School of the Art Institute.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Breathing Under Water
ISBN: 093515308X

Stormline Pr. 1987

Book by Roeske, Paulette

The body can ascend no higher

Illinois Writers, Inc. 1992

Divine Attention: Poems
ISBN: 0807119504

Louisiana State Univ Pr. 1995

The theme of surpassing the verbal, the tangible, is reinforced in the collection's arrangement. The opening section explores the physical and psychic shocks we endure as mortals bound to this earth, but as we read, the attention gradually shifts to a search for an antidote to loss, first through the solace of family, history, and the long dead, and finally through willed acts of the imagination.

Anvil, Clock & Last: Poems
ISBN: 0807127191

Louisiana State Univ Pr. 2001

Like the seismic shifts and explosions that reveal hidden features of the earth, Paulette Roeske's poems record upheavals and jolts of self-knowledge in the seeming-solid world where we hammer out our lives. The labor of poetic creation cracks open the self: "How could I have guessed the geode's / rare concentrics, its brilliant sharp-toothed crystals/ was hope that returned me to the hammer / to lay open the bright interiors / I could have overlooked." Readers will find that hope rewarded as the poet wields the tools of time and legacy--anvil, clock, and last--to craft meticulous verses yielding glittering insight.

The clock is omnipresent in this collection, signaling the exquisite tension between the desire to erase the past and the urge to devour all experience. A father's legacy to a daughter is inescapable: "He's left his mark on everything / time filtered through his hands. He's left / it all to me." But Roeske's rare intensity and depth of thought produce poems of mortality and loss balanced by the unexpected appearance of love. After guiding us though the hard forging of a self, the poet places us on the "platform, springboard, raft, or tippy boat," urging us to see love, like all life's experiences, as "a place to fling yourself into," eyes open, fingers crossed.

Bridge of Sighs: A Novella and Two Stories (Three Oaks Prize Fiction Library)
ISBN: 158654019X

Story Line Press. 2002

A novella and two stories by Paulette Roeske.

Winner of the second annual Three Oaks Prize for fiction.

Magda Brummel, the protagonist of the novella, who is devastated by loss, has decided to take a trip to Italy. She is accompanied by a man whom she knows only casually, and their relationship is initially platonic. As the author takes Magda and Harry through stunningly evoked sacred and secular sites throughout Italy, we realize that, for Magda, the trip has become an increasingly urgent pilgrimage, a search for renewal, if not grace.

Paulette Roeske has published four books of poetry. An NEH and Fulbright Fellow, her fiction appeared in Threepenny Review, Georgia Review, and other publications.


Carl Sandburg Book Award for Poetry, Divine Attention

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