Melissa Green studied with Derek Walcott at BU, in the same classroom Plath studied with Lowell, and was a friend of Joseph Brodsky—who considered her one of America’s best poets.
She has a challenge in going up against Sean O’Brien, who gets a rhymed couplet as his line in the tournament (though it is one sentence, one thought)—the tournament judges allowed O’Brien (short-listed for the latest T.S. Eliot Prize) to be represented this way; one of those rulings which caused some grumbling, but poetry and life are often both a grumble, and there you go.
We shall introduce O’Brien’s earnest line first, and then finish with Green’s quiet one, so she has a chance.
‘People’ tell us nowadays these views are terribly unfair, but these forgiving ‘people’ aren’t the ‘people’ who were there.
This is the sort of verse-adding-power-to-rhetoric which we just don’t get much these days.
It is as if truth has its own emotion, one that verse finds—and we find this intoxicating—firebrand intellectual that we are.
Marla Muse: I remember when God was a Poet. This sounds like that.
Marla, you remember when that was so?
Marla Muse: That was when He loved me. Muse. And God.
Marla, your presence in this tournament is invaluable.
Marla Muse: Well, of course. But I thank you, Tom.
When the devotees of the Muse approach you in their dreams, what do they say?
Marla Muse: It’s mist and wind. I feel them in my heart. Warm coins of praise. (She falls to the floor)
Marla! Are you OK?
Marla Muse: (Still in a swoon) I’m fine.
[Confusion in the tournament stadium. Order restored.]
Now here is Melissa Green’s line, and the best of luck to her:
They’ve mown the summer meadow.