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Vicious Attack Informs 'An Explanation of America'

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In 1977, the brutal attack in Oregon on Terri Jentz and her college roommate made newspaper headlines across the country and became a part of An Explanation of America, a book-length poem by Robert Pinsky, a former U.S. poet laureate.

Pinsky also had a personal connection to the crime: He and his family were neighbors of the roommate's family at the time of the incident.

In one passage of An Explanation of America, Pinsky addresses the attack and his reaction to it.

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