German-born poet and translator Lisel Mueller fled the Nazi regime with her family when she was 15. Her family immigrated to the US and settled in Indiana, where Mueller attended the University of Evansville and Indiana University. "An Unanswered Question" is taken from her book Alive Together, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1997. In this poem Mueller imagines what it might be like to be the sole survivor of one's tribe and the last remaining speaker of one's native language. Would connection still be possible? What would be most important to pass on? This poem raises questions about the nature and limits of empathy and the relationship of language to culture and survival.
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Alive Together: New and Seleted Poems by Lisel Mueller. Louisiana State UP, 1996.
Reading - Short Enough to Read Aloud.
How do we connect with those who are different from us?What does it mean to be a stranger or an outsider? What does it feel like?What does it mean to be alone?What does empathy look like?What prevents us from being compassionate?What does it mean to have a voice?Who is voiceless in today's society and why?