Tell All the Truth but Tell It Slant

Even this poem’s construction affirms how difficult its details are to handle. Halfway through the poem, after writing that “the first one … pried her mouth open” (thus reminding us that this woman has been violated by more than one man), Hass turns from this brutal scene in war-torn Berlin to a meditation on the work of a 17th-century Japanese poet. What can we do as readers, as artists, and as humans when faced with the continual repetition of awful revelations?

Camille T. Dungy

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