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Topic: E. Martin Nolan

Poetry is a Social Art

Two Genius.com users have a disagreement about a line from Emily Dickinson’s “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant.” When the poem suggests the truth be told “with explanation kind,” the user named thatcutechick contends that this means the speaker of truth “blunts it, making its reception kinder.” The user named arifeldman disagrees, mansplaining that to be “blunt” is the opposite of “easing” the truth (duh).

Left Reaching: John Wall Barger’s The Book of Festus

In his CV2/Winnipeg Review take on John Wall Barger’s The Book of Festus, Michael Prior correctly identifies the book’s “magpie eye” toward epic form. Barger’s debt to the 20th century writers Prior mentions—Olsen, Berryman and Joyce—is not in doubt, although given the city-as-man trope in Festus, Williams’ Paterson should be added to that list. These epics, along with the 19th-century Festus by John Philip Bailey and the history of the city of Halifax, are the memories upon which The Book of Festus draws to produce its colourful, light-hearted, and strange dream.