“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant.” This was Emily Dickinson’s credo.
Walker Evans applied a similar aesthetic approach to photography—a preference to take photos when the sun’s light was slanting, toward evening or in the early morning.
The approach begs the question of whether life should be represented in full illumination. What does it mean to represent something or someone in full light?
Perhaps truth—not to mention mystery and wonder—can only be found in the “slants,” the corners, the shadows.
I’m not sure if an artist needs to know much more than this, but of course these simple words require such keen interpretation and creative judgment.
What is truth at a slant, after all? It goes beyond sunrise and sunset.
Paul Mootz says
A brief but cogent comment. Thank you. I love this poem, and I love who I think Emily was and still is.