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Thursday February 23, 2017
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Linda Gregerson

 

continued

lines, where sentence fights against line, and in the battle language gets intensely charged:

Just then, when already he's trying
to leave, improbably

young and fair-
complected, the absence of pigment a kind

of disease — he's come as a last
concession and the church

is cold, the other,
the pastor, so palpably wedded to grief he

looks with envy at the fair one, grief's
addictive, it will hitch

a ride on anything —


And the sentence is only half over!

This complexity is not just a kind of game. In Winter Light, the Bergman film on which "The Turning" is based, a young man on the brink of suicide comes to the church in a last effort to find hope, and the pastor fails him. But Gregerson recognizes the generosity in the suicide, who turns away rather than force the man of God to confront his own iniquities: "The turning/is a kind of tact."

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