'As Planned' by Frank O'Hara

AI and Tech Aggregator
Download Mp3s Free
Tears of the Kingdom Roleplay
Best Free University Courses Online
TOTK Roleplay

After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even your own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweden
for they are words that you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
or what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don't you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?

Anonymous submission.

Editor 1 Interpretation

As Planned: A literary Criticism and Interpretation

When we talk about Frank O'Hara's poetry, the first thing that comes to mind is his wit and humor. His poems are full of pop culture references, personal anecdotes, and everyday life observations. But beneath the surface of his seemingly casual style, there lies a deep understanding of the human condition and a profound sense of empathy. In this literary criticism and interpretation, we will delve into one of his most celebrated poems, "As Planned," and explore its themes, structure, and significance.

Overview of the Poem

"As Planned" was written in 1959 and first appeared in the book "Lunch Poems" in 1964. The poem is a monologue in the first person, where the speaker addresses someone else, whose identity is not revealed. The poem starts with a declaration of the speaker's intentions to go to the movies and have a good time. However, as the poem progresses, the mood shifts, and the speaker's thoughts turn to darker themes, such as death, loneliness, and the fragility of life. The poem ends with the speaker's realization that life is fleeting and unpredictable, and all we can do is enjoy the moment.

Themes of the Poem


One of the most prominent themes of "As Planned" is mortality. The poem starts with the speaker's assertion that they are going to see a movie, but quickly shifts to the realization that life is short and can end at any moment. The speaker says, "you can't just go on & on / getting away from it / for free" (lines 4-6), implying that death is inevitable and that we cannot escape it forever. The speaker goes on to reflect on the fragility of life, saying, "in fact / it's just the opposite / one death is exchanged for another / life is infinite." (lines 13-16). This line can be interpreted as the speaker's acceptance of the cyclical nature of life and death, where every death is replaced by a new life, and the cycle repeats itself.


Another theme that runs through the poem is loneliness. The speaker repeatedly addresses an unknown person, saying, "you" (lines 1, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 19, 20), but we never find out who this person is. This can be interpreted as the speaker's attempt to connect with someone, anyone, in a world where they feel disconnected and alone. The speaker also reflects on the loneliness of death, saying, "you can't even die / without a bunch of people toting flowers / & everybody springing for the telephone bill" (lines 7-9), implying that even in death, we need people around us.


The theme of transience is also present in the poem. The speaker reflects on the ephemeral nature of life, saying, "everything / suddenly honks: it is 12:40 of / a Thursday" (lines 10-12), implying that time is passing by quickly, and we need to make the most of every moment. The speaker also reflects on the transience of beauty, saying, "it's so embarrassingly beautiful / you want to put your arms around it" (lines 17-18), implying that beauty is fleeting and needs to be appreciated in the moment.

Structure of the Poem

The poem is written in free verse, with no rhyme or meter. It consists of twenty lines, with varying lengths and no stanzas. The lack of a strict structure mirrors the speaker's thoughts and emotions, which are erratic and spontaneous. The poem is also full of enjambments, which give the poem a sense of flow and continuity, as one line flows into the next. The use of enjambments also reflects the speaker's stream-of-consciousness style of thinking, where one thought leads to another.

Significance of the Poem

"As Planned" is a significant poem in the canon of American poetry for several reasons. Firstly, it reflects Frank O'Hara's unique writing style, which is characterized by humor, wit, and everyday observations. The poem is a perfect example of O'Hara's ability to combine seemingly mundane details with profound insights into the human condition.

Secondly, the poem addresses universal themes that are relevant to people of all ages and cultures. The themes of mortality, loneliness, and transience are universal, and the poem speaks to anyone who has ever pondered the meaning of life.

Lastly, the poem represents a departure from the formalism that dominated American poetry in the 1950s. O'Hara's free verse and stream-of-consciousness style were a radical departure from the strict structures and forms of poetry that came before. O'Hara's poetry was part of the larger movement of the New York School of poets, who were associated with the Abstract Expressionist art movement and sought to break down the boundaries between art and everyday life.


In conclusion, "As Planned" is a remarkable poem that showcases Frank O'Hara's unique writing style and his ability to capture the complexities of the human experience through everyday observations. The poem addresses universal themes that are relevant to people of all ages and cultures, and it represents a departure from the formalism that dominated American poetry in the 1950s. "As Planned" is a significant contribution to American poetry and a testament to Frank O'Hara's talent and creativity.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

As Planned: A Masterpiece of Modern Poetry

Frank O'Hara's "As Planned" is a poem that captures the essence of modern poetry. It is a masterpiece that showcases the poet's ability to use language to create vivid images and convey complex emotions. The poem is a celebration of life, love, and the beauty of the world around us. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, structure, and language of "As Planned" to understand why it is considered one of the greatest poems of the 20th century.


The central theme of "As Planned" is the celebration of life. The poem is a tribute to the beauty of the world and the joy of being alive. O'Hara uses vivid imagery to describe the sights, sounds, and sensations of the world around him. He celebrates the simple pleasures of life, such as the taste of a peach or the sound of a bird singing. The poem is a reminder that life is fleeting and that we should cherish every moment.

Another theme of the poem is the power of love. O'Hara writes about the joy of being in love and the pain of losing someone you love. He celebrates the beauty of human connection and the importance of relationships. The poem is a tribute to the power of love to transform our lives and make us better people.


"As Planned" is a free-verse poem that does not follow a strict rhyme or meter. The poem is divided into three stanzas, each with a different focus. The first stanza is a celebration of the beauty of the world. The second stanza is a tribute to love, and the third stanza is a reflection on the transience of life.

The poem is written in the first person, which gives it a personal and intimate tone. The poet speaks directly to the reader, sharing his thoughts and emotions. The poem is also written in the present tense, which gives it a sense of immediacy and urgency.


O'Hara's use of language is one of the most striking features of "As Planned." He uses vivid imagery and sensory details to create a rich and immersive experience for the reader. For example, in the first stanza, he writes:

"Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas! You really are beautiful! Pearls, harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins!"

These lines are a celebration of the beauty of the world. O'Hara uses a list of seemingly random objects to create a sense of abundance and richness. The use of exclamation marks and the repetition of the word "beautiful" emphasize the poet's enthusiasm and joy.

In the second stanza, O'Hara writes about love:

"I can't wait to get to bed. To go to sleep and see you there. And I'm not talking about a metaphor."

These lines are a tribute to the power of love to transform our lives. O'Hara uses simple language to convey complex emotions. The use of the phrase "I'm not talking about a metaphor" emphasizes the poet's sincerity and honesty.

In the third stanza, O'Hara reflects on the transience of life:

"But I don't want to go among mad people. Oh, you can't help that, we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

These lines are a reminder that life is fleeting and that we should cherish every moment. O'Hara uses the metaphor of madness to suggest that life is unpredictable and chaotic. The repetition of the word "mad" emphasizes the poet's sense of resignation and acceptance.


"As Planned" is a masterpiece of modern poetry. It celebrates the beauty of the world, the power of love, and the transience of life. O'Hara's use of language is masterful, creating vivid images and conveying complex emotions. The poem is a reminder that life is fleeting and that we should cherish every moment. It is a tribute to the power of poetry to capture the essence of the human experience.

Editor Recommended Sites

Dart Book - Learn Dart 3 and Flutter: Best practice resources around dart 3 and Flutter. How to connect flutter to GPT-4, GPT-3.5, Palm / Bard
Run Kubernetes: Kubernetes multicloud deployment for stateful and stateless data, and LLMs
Rust Language: Rust programming language Apps, Web Assembly Apps
WebGPU Guide: Learn WebGPU from tutorials, courses and best practice
Kids Learning Games: Kids learning games for software engineering, programming, computer science

Recommended Similar Analysis

A Fever by John Donne analysis
Trinckle , Drops by Walt Whitman analysis
Between Going And Staying by Octavio Paz analysis
First We Take Manhattan by Leonard Cohen analysis
A Poison Tree by William Blake analysis
Nursery Rhyme For A Twenty-First Birthday by A.S.J. Tessimond analysis
Divination By A Daffodil by Robert Herrick analysis
Lying In A Hammock At William Duffy's Farm In Pine Island, Minnesota by James Wright analysis
One's Self I Sing by Walt Whitman analysis
Petit, The Poet by Edgar Lee Masters analysis