This is What Happened

A poetry and visual art collection by Melissa Diem

‘This is an electrifying narrative of the ancient drama of ‘relationship’, where Self and Other dance it out again and again. This formally intricate dance of language and breath and stress swings between Florida landscapes dreaming in the heat and Irish skies that threaten and enchant, between the intensely private and the almost terrifying immensities of the cosmos. Something of the loneliness of such cosmic awareness is in the poems too. I’d known Melissa Diem’s wonderful first novel, Changeling, so I was prepared for a powerful experience from her debut poetry collection. And I was right.‘ Paula Meehan.

‘Melissa Diem is not a path-follower or camp-follower but a way-maker and a pathbreaker. I have been following her distinctive and provocative work in poetry and video for some time and I have always been intrigued, moved, and enthused by it. Both her visual and literary work are immersive, atmospheric, and entirely her own.  She is a poet of the visual image and a camera-woman of the printed word. Hers is riverine work which rushes us along in a flood of signification almost too much to deal with, then swerves us into calm, reflective deeps for a cooler period. This is what happened is an uncommon book which repays us ten times over for the time we give to it.’ Dave Lorden

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