Vitamins and Roughage

By Kenneth Rexroth 1905–1982 Kenneth Rexroth
Strong ankled, sun burned, almost naked,
The daughters of California   
Educate reluctant humanists;
Drive into their skulls with tennis balls
The unhappy realization
That nature is still stronger than man.
The special Hellenic privilege   
Of the special intellect seeps out   
At last in this irrigated soil.
Sweat of athletes and juice of lovers
Are stronger than Socrates’ hemlock;
And the games of scrupulous Euclid
Vanish in the gymnopaedia.

Kenneth Rexroth, “Vitamins and Roughage” from The Collected Shorter Poems. Copyright © 1966 by Kenneth Rexroth. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.

Source: The Collected Shorter Poems (1966)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Kenneth Rexroth 1905–1982

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Sports & Outdoor Activities, School & Learning, Activities

Poetic Terms Syllabic

 Kenneth  Rexroth

Biography

Kenneth Rexroth was born in South Bend, Indiana and frequently moved around the Midwest during his childhood. He led a tumultuous life that included being orphaned at 14, constant traveling both in the US and abroad, intense political activism, and four marriages. Largely self-educated, he is one of the most well-read poets of the twentieth century. His poems, which influenced Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Sports & Outdoor Activities, School & Learning, Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Poetic Terms Syllabic

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.