This alley, which runs from NE 45th Street to NE 47th Street between 7th Avenue NE and 8th Avenue NE, adjacent to the Blue Moon Tavern, was named in 1995 for poet Theodore Huebner Roethke (1908–1963). A professor of English at the University of Washington from 1947 to 1963, Roethke won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1954, the National Book Award for Poetry in 1959 and (posthumously) 1965, and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1959. His best-known poem may be “The Waking,” which begins:
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
The Seattle Times says the resolution naming the alley “notes [Roethke] conducted numerous ‘symposia formal and informal in the Blue Moon Tavern and celebrated his receipt of both the Pulitzer and Bollingen prizes at the Blue Moon.’” The full text of the resolution is not available online, but I wonder if it specifically calls out the reason for Roethke Mews as opposed to Roethke Alley; as Knute Berger notes for Crosscut, it’s “a great pun on ‘muse’ if nothing else.”