Don Byrd: On "Cole's Island"

Walking with his son on Cole's Island . . . Maximus has his first encouter with Death himself:


                                My impression is we did—

that is, Death and myself, regard each other. And

there wasn't anything more than that, only that he had appeared,

and we did recognize each other--or I did, him, and he seemed

to have no question about my presence there, even though I was uncomfortable.


The old estrangement temporarily returns, and Maximus is athwart precisely that experience which first fed the intuition that some other world, in which this discomfort is avoidable, is possible: the self need only become to itself an image of transcendent reality to avoid the encounter with death.


Title Don Byrd: On "Cole's Island" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Don Byrd Criticism Target Charles Olson
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 27 May 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Charles Olson’s Maximus
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