|Denise Bergman's second collection of poems is astonishingly original: I can't think of another work that uses something so small to such large effect. The Telling is ultimately about time and memory, art and truth, women and birth and death, and it all comes from "A sepia memory / mildewed, perhaps, or not"—a tiny center around which Bergman's lyrical intelligence moves with haunting power and grace.
As scribe to the recounting of a few harrowing childhood hours that would shape her grandmother's life, Denise Bergman examines trauma, suppression, and how the honest mind must sometimes alter truth. This, then, is no simple compassion; as the narrator bears witness to the recounting of a monumental and guilt-laden secret, Bergman searches underneath the told story. In her spare, halting lines and the wide silences between them, one senses a tender and horrified listening, and in this listening an implied counterpoint, a murmur of truths unspeakable. Every object in The Telling has a vulnerable, culpable animus. All are witnesses. Bergman's testimony acknowledges the heartbreaking necessity of amnesia.
The Telling, a book-length poem, investigates the life-long secret of a woman who believed that as a child fleeing repression, she accidently killed her mother.
Červená Barva Press
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Read an interview about The Telling for the Next Big Thing