The Sublime Turn of Kenneth Rexroth’s “On What Planet”

20 07 2013


Over at the Samizdat blog, Bob Archambeau offers a perspicacious reading of Kenneth Rexroth’s “On What Planet,” a reading that focuses on the poem’s turns.  It’s a terrific analysis of a terrific poem–check it out here.

There’s a particularly lovely moment when Bob moves to begin discussing the poem’s major turn, and Bob, ready to dive in, says, “There’s so much going on here I hardly know where to start.”   For me, that is (at least) the (initial) power of a great turn–it just bowls you over with its power, its surprise, its radical reconfiguration of everything you’d thought to expect.

A strong critic, Bob, of course, rallies and goes on to say some very smart things about how the turn works in the poem, and what the turn means, especially when considered in the contexts of Romanticism and the sublime.

If you like Bob’s take on Rexroth’s “On What Planet,” be sure to check out his reading of the turns in John Matthias’s “Friendship” over at Voltage Poetry–check it out here.



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