Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Muse: Poet Melissa Green

[M]y battle to find language again after a series
of shock treatments destroyed my attachment to it....
~ Poet Melissa Green

A lover of poetry since childhood, Melissa Green also suffered depression at approximately two-year intervals. In 2013, she decided to have a dozen shock treatments and for four years thereafter "had no language"—and no memory of having written anything. In Conversation with Melissa Green (Penny Ante Productions), below, by Green's friend Melissa Shook, the poet describes what it took to "put things back together after [they'd] been destroyed" so that she could "become a poet again." With strength and determination, Green found her way through mental illness and what she suffered because of her shock treatments by making things with her hands and doing what she had never done before. 

Green, who studied with the great Derek Walcott and Joseph Brodsky while in a masters program at Boston University, is the recipient of a Lavan Award (Academy of American Poets) and a Norma Farber Award (Poetry Society of America, 1989). She lives in Massachusetts.

(My thanks to Cynthia Haven's blog, The Book Haven, where I first saw the documentary short and discovered Green's wonderful poetry.)

Poetry by Melissa Green

Magpiety: New & Selected Poems (Arrowsmith Press, 2015) (Read Janeil Page's review, "Why Magpiety? Because the Poet Has So Much More to Say", at Consequence magazine. M. Lock Swingen's review is available at Rain Taxi.)

The Marsh Poems

Fifty-Two (Arrowsmith Press) (This is a limited-edition chapbook of six-line poems. Read a review at New Criterion.)

Squanicook Eclogues (Reprint, Pen & Anvil Press, 2010) (This was Green's debut collection. Read a review at Anna Livia Review blog.)

Melissa Green's poetry has been published in Agni Online, The Best American Poetry, Little Star, The New Republic, The New York Review of BooksThe Paris Review, Poetry Daily, and other literary periodicals. See the blog Melissa Green Poems, which Green closed in 2012, for some of her poems.

Memoirs by Melissa Green

The Linen Way (Rosa Mira Books, 2013) (This is available on Kindle. It details her friendships with Walcott and Brodsky and her struggles with depression. Read an excerpt at Parnassus Poetry in Review. A review is available at Nerobooks.)

Color Is the Suffering of Light (W.W. Norton, 1995) (This is available via resellers.)

Green also is the author of the novel Tres Riches Hours de la Belle Heloise.


Recording Session: Melissa Green (April 2015) in the Poetry Room Listening Booth (2015)


Soundings: On the Poetry of Melissa Green (Arrowsmith Books, 2016) The book's editor is Sumita Chakraborty, who describes the contents of Soundings on his Website. A 2017 review by Mary Germaine is available at Break Water Review.)

Melissa Green on FaceBook (See her videos on FaceBook.)

Also of Interest

"On Joseph Brodsky and suffering through, by Melissa Green" (52 Men Podcast) at Louise Leonard Website (2017)

Leslie McGrath, "Still a Maker: A Profile of Melissa Green", AWP magazine (2016)

Askold Melnyczuk, "Second Opinions: Vesper Sparrow at Dawn", Drunken Boat (2016)

David Rivard, "'I've Been Awhile Away': The Poetry of Melissa Green" (Review of Magpiety), Agni Online (2016) 

Sumita Chakraborty, "Violet  and Violent: A Conversation with Melissa Green", Los Angeles Review of Books (2016)

Daniel Evans Pritchard, "MAGPIETY: An Interview with Melissa Green" at Woodberry Poetry Room (2015)

Toni Nicolas, "Walcott Introduces Author of Magpiety!", St. Lucia Star (2015)

"'Magpiety': getting to the bottom of it." at The Book Haven Blog (2015)

"Poet Melissa Green: Virgil would still be proud" at The Book Haven Blog (2014)

"Q&A with poet Melissa Green" at Rosa Mira Books Blog (July 2013)

"An Interview with Melissa Green" at Tim Jones's Books in the Trees Blog (2013)

 "Melissa Green; A place from Words", The Ottoman Estate Blog, September 24, 2010 (A recording by Green also is available here.)

Nora Delaney, "The Poetry of Melissa Green", Jacket 37 (2009)

Melissa Shook at Joseph Bellows Gallery

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