The Density of Suffering

  • Harold Schweizer

Abstract

Aristotle describes the contest between density and rarity as a “battle” for the “possession” of a substratum. In two poems, by Eavan Boland and Alice Oswald, the substratum is marble and stone respectively, emblems of density that here allegorize the anonymous quality of suffering. The tentative, rare occasions when this density might nonetheless “give off” something of its hermetic quality are in both poems reached at moments offleeting poignancy and great vulnerability.

Keywords

Burning Dura Trop Metaphor Vigil 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Bertrand Vergely, La Souffrance: Recherche du sens perdu (Paris: Gallimard, 1997): “Souffrir, c’est toujours souffrir de trop” (62). See also Ophir, 267.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Joë Bousquet, Traduit du silence (Paris: Gallimard, 1968): “Je viens d’éprouver une grande douleur; et ce qui me frappe le plus, c’est que je ne suis pas à sa taille” (32).Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Eavan Boland, “The Art of Grief” in New Collected Poems ( New York: Norton, 2008 ), 239–41.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    John Rickard, “The Irish Patient: The Female Body, Nation, and Language in the Poetry of Eavan Boland and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill” in The Patient, ed. Kimberly Myers and Harold Schweizer (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2010 ), 99.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    Alice Oswald, Spacecraft Voyager 1: New and Selected Poems ( Saint Paul: Graywolf Press, 2007 ), 107.Google Scholar
  6. 18.
    Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution ( New York: Cosimo, 2005 ), 159.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Harold Schweizer 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harold Schweizer

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