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Please explain Wallace Stevens' "The Planet on the Table."

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whamjam | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 12, 2009 at 8:44 PM via web

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Please explain Wallace Stevens' "The Planet on the Table."

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted July 12, 2009 at 11:55 PM (Answer #1)

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Wallace Stevens' (1879-1955) "Planet on the Table" written in 1953 is perhaps an implicit request or instruction to his readers and critics as to how they must read and interpret his last edition of poetry - "Collected Poems"(1954). Walace Stevens implies that the poet, the sun and planet earth seem to share a deep affinity atleast for some time till  the creative impulse lasts:

     "His self and the sun were one

     And his poems, although makings of his self,

    Were no less makings of the sun.

    ............

    Of the planet of which they were part."

The poem allows Stevens to contemplate his own ending as a poet. Ariel of course refers to his persona. He subsumes the human imagination under a larger creative reality and by doing so his "Collected Poems" (1954)dissolve the distinction between mind and world that had been maintained for most part of his poetic career.

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impeccable | College Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted July 13, 2009 at 3:24 AM (Answer #2)

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The poet assuming himself as spirit [later to be] presents the greatness of the poems as a testimny f the immortality of the verses.  He avers that the good verses would outlive the creation of the Sun [preumably the god the creator].  He is the creator of the nature around us.  The man in his own capacity creates many things on this Planet Earth like some superb architecture or some evergreen literature works as poems and verses.  The poet is the man created by the God but he perishes one day but the verses created by this man go on to live to the eternity.  He accords immortality to some of the creations of the man which some of those created by God do not enjoy.

The Summary

The spirit of the poet was glad for it had written some poems about the times he remembered and the sights which he had seen and liked during his life time.

The spirit of the poet is not ready to consider the creation of the God to be of superior order for what he creates are prone to perish due to the affects of decadence and soaking.  The matured man or the ripened plant gets deformed through aging and would perish one day.  He considers himself not to be less but equal to this creator and the poems he creates are not inferior to the things created by him.

The survival of his poems is not a matter of concern to his spirit but he wishes that they bear some distinguishing characteristic to be reconganised by the forth coming generations.

The spirit of the poet is ready and prepared to accept that his expression through the verses may not be understood in their entirity by the upcoming generations may be due to the dearth of words he suffered.  He is ready to be content even if the half of his abundant flow of expression through his verses is half understood by the generations to come and if he stands out to be considered as one among them who lived on this same planet.

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