An explicit self-reflexiveness concerning beginnings and endings has always been present in Raworth, often even more explicitly than in Sentenced to Death: Catacoustics opens, "should i begin again"; "The Vein" "ends in a dramatic freeze" (Clean & Well Lit, 28); at the close of "Blue Screen" things "finally run their course," and the poem concludes with "the end of active thought" (Clean & Well Lit, 60-6 1).
The opening and close are both marked by the appearance of a male pronoun that brackets the sequence--"sentenced he gives a shape"; "after his mother's death." This is a conjunction of formal limit and the male pronoun that appears elsewhere in Raworth: for instance, in Catacoustics, whose final lines pan away from an image of a galaxy to a morose male figure:
Raworth's attention to the acts of beginning and ending may be linked more generally to his interest in fra ming devices such as titles, captions, and quotation marks, evident in his use of poem-within-poem structures in Writing and Catacoustics and even in mordant joke-poems like "Reference" and "University Days." These various connections across the oeuvre confirm that modalities of reading willing to place more stress on content and the particularity of poems are important to any attempt to come to terms with the range and significance of Raworth's poetry.