Wednesday, March 4, 2009

truth told in a slant


We can tell more by implying
than by being quite explicit.
Though it always is illicit
to elude the truth lying,
stronger point are made if you
withhold some information in
the hope that stories that you spin
tell facts that count and point of view
obliquely. Truth told in a slant,
as Emily once said, is far
more powerful than facts that are
like scattershot instead of scant.

Inspired by an interview by Tobias Wolff on KUSC this morning, in which he compared the panoramic writing of Tolstoy with the sharply focused glimpses of truth presented by Chekhov. Wolff prefers Chekhov’s approach, whose application, he claims, is fundamental in his own, and probably all successful, short stories.

© 2009 Gershon Hepner 3/4/09

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if a similar comparison might be made between epics and sonnets (or any pointed poem). The broad stroke and the focused theme.

    Truth. Now there's an elusive entity. "stronger point is made if you withhold some information . . . " But when to shut your mouth, there's the rub.

    Emily found the Slant of light oppressive. At least through cathedral windows.