William H. Matchett, the author of this article in Faculty Focus of Columns Magazine, was in the small group that originated the Roethke Memorial Reading after many people “made spontaneous gifts in his memory to the UW Department of English” after Theodore Roethke’s death in 1963. William Matchett also managed the first twenty-five readings.
He emphasizes economic changes since the start of “what was, for then, a generous endowment”; and near the article’s end, “Sadly, no reading at all was offered in 2017. The money was simply not available.” This analysis might be a good addition to the presence of the Roethke Readings at the U. of W. English Department site. Inflation and art have interacted all these years in the way Matchett describes, and computers, media, and art have interacted as described, as well:
From 1965 through 1997, the readings were recorded. These tapes, some of which are now lost, are scattered through various Suzzallo collections.
The system in small collections has cared about the importance of technology to preserve these moments, and the pathway to retrieve the material can be chancy. This has happened with media storage in a lot of ways. I think the story of the Roethke readings and their situation now is beautifully told here.