SEAN O’BRIEN AND MELISSA GREEN KEEP THE MADNESS GOING IN NORTH BRACKET

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. maryangeladouglas said,

    April 10, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    This is a fantastically beautiful interlude in the Tournament. And lovely lines. When Poetry and the summer meadow wake up from the nightmare that God has left them, they will understand this was a dire illusionand epoch;that there are those who dream they profit from this illusion. What if God Himself is both Poetry and Muse in us and is thus doubly wounded. And poetry in the lower case (not stylistically but otherwise where it matters) is running, for the most part, The Show.

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      April 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Very glad to find out here about both these poets. Will follow the golden threads into their poetry.

      • maryangeladouglas said,

        April 11, 2016 at 3:53 am

        Where else but from the mystic pen of Thomas Graves could you find a line or concept so beautiful as the Muse (of poetry) musing, “I remember when God was a Poet…” Fantastic.


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