Saturday, November 26, 2016

Impressions from a Melissa Green reading

As the December 2016 release of Soundings, a collection of essays concerning the work of poet Melissa Green, approaches, a lot of us here in Boston, and ever further afield in the literary community, are thinking once again, appreciatively, of the work that Green has produced over the years.

Here below, I reproduce a blog essay published online back in 2012 and in the Autumn 2013 issue of The Charles River Journal. I offer it as another testament to the impression that Green and her work has left upon readers (or in this case, a reader -- me.) - ZB

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Fred Marchant, introducing Melissa Green as the first of two readers at a literary evening sponsored by the Suffolk University Poetry Center on February 2, 2012, said of her most recent book-length publication, Fifty-Two: "Such an amazing little book. I wish we could all pitch in five dollars each, right now, and republish it again." I happen to know these poems well, and couldn't agree more: how fine it would be if Arrowsmith Press would hear the demand and do another hundred or two hundred copies. I was in the audience at the reading in 2007 when a veritable pageant of renowned poets -- Derek Walcott, David Ferry, Lucie Brock-Broido, Frank Bidart, Rosanna Warren, fifteen writers in total -- turned out for "A Tribute to Melissa" to celebrate the publication of Fifty-Two. The readers were there to honor the beauty and brilliance of Melissa Green's work, and to celebrate the appearance of another collection after she'd been a long time silent on the page. We'd had to order our copies in advance, and I gave away one of the two copies I'd bought for myself to my friend Daniel Pritchard (now Evans Pritchard), who hadn't reserved one in time. Oh, I hope he appreciated that gift! For the book sold out that evening, and it now commands a commendable price in the catalogs of fine booksellers, if you can find it at all.