The Rarity of One’s Own Death



The rarity of death, its stunting fragmentations and spectral transformations announce themselves in an experimental sonnet by C.K. Williams. The poem proceeds from images of physical violence to a gesture of a tenuous resistance against trauma and oblivion. It ends not in the void of hopelessness but in a wisp of affirmation of human value. The poem functions as a thin, verbal sieve that, in the space of fourteen meager lines, briefly delays the passage from the material to the immaterial. The image of the vanishing of human life is itself a rarity: it can be glimpsed in Williams’s sonnet in the diaphanous space, hard to scan or notice, between the fragmented and the full pentameter line.


Physical Violence Spectral Transformation Passive Voice Passive Construction Dark Seed 
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    William Shakespeare, King Lear, ed. R.A. Foakes (London: The Arden Shakespeare, 1997), v.ii, 13–15.Google Scholar
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    Maurice Blanchot, The Writing of the Disaster, trans. Ann Smock (Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 117, see also 124.Google Scholar

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© Harold Schweizer 2016

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