Melissa Green and the long climb back from darkness

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green-melissaPoet Melissa Green has wrestled with mental illness all her life (we’ve written about her here and here). As a child, she knew she wanted to write poetry, but every two years she was felled by depression. Four years ago, the Massachusetts writer had a dozen shock treatments. The result was catastrophic: the woman whose poetry had entranced Nobel poets Joseph Brodsky and Derek Walcott could no longer read. She had no memory of having written anything, and said her “ziggurats of books meant no more to me than a pile of two-by-fours.” This is the story of her long climb back. She’s since published Magpiety: New and Selected Poems (2015), and last December a critical volume called Soundings: On the Poetry of Melissa Green was published about her (and Humble Moi has a short piece in it, too).

Melissa’s friend, Melissa Shook, a Boston artist and documentary videographer, made a short video about what she described as “my battle to find language again after a series of shock treatments destroyed my attachment to it, how as artists we try to negotiate Keats’ ‘negative capability’ when the press to be a maker is so strong.”

Conversation with Melissa Green is below.  She added: “I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your caring friendships, and for taking the time to watch this, so important to me.” She’s not the only one suffering from mental illness. I think a lot of writers, poets, and ordinary people who have walked along the same difficult path will welcome this kindred spirit, and her courageous journey.

Conversation with Melissa Green from Melissa Shook on Vimeo.


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2 Responses to “Melissa Green and the long climb back from darkness”

  1. Barbara Molloy Says:

    Video not downloading…

  2. Cynthia Haven Says:

    Funny, it is for me. Anyone else having problems? Try here:

    https://vimeo.com/212922323

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