Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 374
"Planetarium" is a 45-line free verse feminist poem that starts with a dedication to the eighteenth-century female astrologer Caroline Herschel.
Thinking of Caroline Herschel (1750—1848)
astronomer, sister of William; and others.
As the poem continues to talk about the struggles of women, and particularly how women struggle to express themselves in a patriarchal society, the reader starts to understand how heartfelt and almost angry the dedication is. The line "sister of William," for example, sounds like Rich is saying that despite all she did, Herschel's achievements have always been linked to a man. In this respect, she is dedicating this poem to Herschel and any other women whose brilliance the world has forgotten.
The first verse of the poem starts with the lines,
A woman in the shape of a monstera monster in the shape of a womanthe skies are full of them
in her 98 years to discover8 comets
she whom the moon ruledlike uslevitating into the night skyriding the polished lenses
Galaxies of women, theredoing penance for impetuousnessribs chilledin those spaces of the mind
every impulse of light exploding
from the coreas life flies out of us
I am an instrument in the shapeof a woman trying to translate pulsationsinto images for the relief of the bodyand the reconstruction of the mind.
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