When I read this poem, and of course, we studied it a lot with ModPo, 2012, but when I came back to it this time, it hit me right away: the meta-matter of this poem and I believe that Emily Dickinson is talking about her own way of writing, that she writes with class, she writes in riddles, she writes around the point, she rarely gets to the point, she dazzles us. So I see Tell All The Truth as more of a manifesto for herself than as a declaration or a proclamation on how things should be. This is how she is and this is what she's doing with her writing. Triva, that's so refreshing, because you're making the poem seem like a position. She's taking a position. She's telling us how she rolls. Right. Now she's not claiming that we should all do that necessarily? Exactly. But what about you, Triva? Are you persuaded and is it your position, too? In life? You didn't know I was going to ask you that. Sorry. Sure. Sometimes I play it that way. Other times I like blunt and sometimes I like brutal. But when it comes to writing I can completely embrace this and I've used it as a tool. On the days when you disagree with this position and you're much more straightforward --- and did you say brutal? Well, you know, not often, by sometimes. Okay. I just wanted to make sure I heard you right. On those days what would your rejoinder to Emily Dickinson be? "Oh, Emily..." "Oh, Emily. Off the record, just between me and you, you know. I won't record this. I won't publish this. Just tell it to me straight." Wow, that is not the answer I was expecting. That's fantastic. All right. Let's see what kind of responses. Let's get a couple of responses, and then Susan, who has joined us from New York, you made the whole trip. You didn't know I was going to do this but maybe Jason can give you the mic and you can say anything you want about the other responses that have come up. You'll hear some other responses. Dave Poplar, quick one on this. What do you think of what Triva said or about the poem? Well, the thing about these poems is, it touches upon a larger issue for me, which is there is a truth teller and there is a truth receiver. I think that's a dichotomy we see more Emily and certainly less so with Walt. But I think the great thing about these things is they're breaking down slowly. Because she is saying this is how to get to the truth but she's saying it's accessible to everybody. It's out there. They're breaking the distinctions between the havers of the truth and the learners of the truth. Whitman, I believe you were or are Whitmanian. Politically. Politically. What about linguistically? I enjoy Emily's poems. I'm a cultural Dickinsonian, a social political. A social and political Whitmanian. That's so interesting. Whitman would say success in directness lies, success in description lies, success in the blab of the pave lies. That can be boring sometimes. You find Walt Whitman boring? I never find Walt Whitman boring. No. The truth, in and of itself, the unadulterated truth tell it to me straight, that can be boring. Sometimes it doesn't resonate with people. In the sense of documentary truth. And it doesn't resonate with people as much as if you would tell it in a slant. Max, anything to say about this discussion? I like what Triva says about the first line, "Tell all the truth but tell it slant" as being more of a personal manifesto, and less of a poetic manifesto. Like, "Hey everybody, tell the truth but tell it slant" and it actually gets to the reason why I both love and hate Emily Dickinson is that in this case... I mean, don't hate her, as in I don't hate her poetry, but she's so good that she's actually downright frustrating so that, here, she's actually doing exactly what she says anyone should do, and she does it better than anybody else. Wait a minute. In the poem she does what she says. That the poem, as a form, enacts its point. Yes, precisely. You know why I'm doing that. Oh, absolutely. That's the whole point of the course. But can you say a little more about that? How does the form of the poem actually enact its substantive point? Because it is an indirect poem. I mean, it doesn't stop at, "Tell all the truth but tell it slant," which is [inaudible] phrase in itself. She's not saying like, "You can't just say tell all the truth, but don't quite tell it directly, because that would be contrary to what you're saying. " So she goes on, and she creates this circuitous sort of poem that's going around this idea of truth and what it means. It's a circuitous poem that argues that success lies in circuitousness. Yeah, precisely. So there we have it. That's the whole course. We can close this baby up. We can just --- we're done. That's it. That's it. That's what's going to happen in just about every discussion that we have. Ask yourself, not just of poems, but of everyday discussion, everyday conversation, everyday use of language is the form of what -- If I go up to the third floor of my house, and my daughter, who keeps a messy room and I say to her, "Hannah, you really should clean that room," in a solemn sort of way, she knows that I'm bullshitting her. You know why? Because I'm not really solemn about cleaning rooms. If I go up to her and say, "Hannah, I really love what you're doing with your room," I've used the form of that statement is the tone of irony and sarcasm and I am being the dad that she knows, who's full of hilarity and doesn't really want to clean up, but thinks it might be fun once a year to do it. That's a stupid example that I just sort of made up but the point is that we must use language. We should start taking responsibility for the form of what we say. We should stop thinking that the substance of what we say is sufficient. This is why our politicians fail us. This is why people tell us what to do fail us, because they tell us what to do, and then they want us to be democratic. They do an, "I say, you listen," kind of speaking and then they want us to do more than listen. They want us to vote. They want us to speak. They want us to act like citizens and they treat us like babies. I'm sorry. Their language treats us like babies. I'm going off on a rant. But I think that from ModPo... You all thought it was just about poetry.. From ModPo, one can come to a sense of, I'm almost going to say ethical responsibility about the way we use our language. We use our language so hurtfully sometimes without realizing it, or so whishily or what's the word? Gluppily. We use the words, we use the language so gluppily that the meaning of it doesn't overpower us. Well thank you, Max and Triva. Triva, are you still there? Yes. How are you? What do you think about this little rant of mine? Bring it on, Al. Jason, give Susan the mic. She has no idea what she's going to say but I'm sure it's going to be great. Susan, let's put it right up to you. There you go. Okay. Can you hear me? Yes. How are you? I'm good, thank you. Welcome. What part of New York? One of the boroughs? Thank you. The Hudson Valley. Oh, New York State. Yes, New York State. It's beautiful. You don't tell us the town but what, you know, what part of the Hudson Valley? Warwick. I don't know how else to say it. Really? Very nice. Yeah. Great spot. It's a lovely place. Beautiful today, right. Yeah, it is. What are you thinking? Well, I am thinking that what she says in this poem relates a lot to what we were talking about earlier about can you over-read anything? When she writes this, what makes her poem so beautiful is you really and she doesn't say anything straight. You really have to look at it and think about it and read it. And then when you get to some sort of reading on your own it's so much more meaningful than if she just said, "This is how I think about life," or "This is what I think of the garden, or nature, or whatever." You have to work at it so that when you get to your own meaning of it, it's much more meaningful. Just like in advertising, they find when you have to work at the meaning of a commercial, you remember it better, so her poems are much more meaningful. And I think, going back to what we said about can you over-read something. No, because the truth is different in different ways to different people and I think a lot of people when they write don't even really know what they're writing until it's written and someone else interprets it for them. I think that Susan, who just made her debut in ModPo, deserves a round of applause. That was really great. Oh, no. Don't give up the mic yet. I'm not ready. I'm not ready for you to do that. So tell us about the quality of that work. It's not work like sitting at a desk nine to five. Let's try to understand what that work is. The work of participating in the making of meaning with a long-dead writer. What's the work like? Or maybe you want to describe how it feels to do that work. I think the work... Hold the mic, please. Right up to you. I think the work makes you not only look at language, because it stops you, and makes you look at each word and how the word is written so it makes a person, at least me, I can speak for myself, makes me stop rather than just look at something globally and the work is to look at something more specifically and see, why did a person capitalize this word or why is that set aside here? So to me that's the work, is to make myself stop and focus on what it is I'm reading and what is that bringing up to me in relation to the other words around it. That's great. Is Triva still on the line? Yes. Hi, do you want to put in a final word before we disconnect the phone? Well I'm going to pass, because I couldn't hear everything that Susan was saying.