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Melanie Graham is a Florida-based poet who is also a professor of creative writing at the University of Florida. She is currently completing her PhD with the University of Lancaster, England and her thesis focusses on different ways of conveying violence through poetry and explores violence on a number of different socio-economic and personal levels. Here she is seeking to build on the foundations laid by great female writers who have chosen to write about violence, such as Margaret Atwood and Sharon Olds. Melanie´s thesis will be accompanied by a 90 page manuscript of her own poetry which she´s chosen to call, Murderabelia: the term applied to items connected with violence and murder, such as items which belonged to the perpetrator or the victim of the crime. In this podcast, Melanie reads from and discusses Murderabelia.
More broadly, one could say that Melanie´s work focusses on a number of seldom-explored, but salient topics within twenty-first century American society. She wants to draw our attention to the extent to which we´ve become desensitised to violence, the way in which serial killers have been glamorised and how easy it easy to find photos from the autopsy of a murdered seven year old girl online. Melanie also explores sexual violence against women and, more specifically, its after-effects on those who´ve experienced it. Her work is not a diatribe about female victimhood, but rather a testament to how sexual violence may change the course of your life, but it doesn´t have to define it.
Coming from a military family, Melanie has also been brave enough to stand up and draw attention to the fate of American veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan: how little support they receive and the final extreme consequences that their traumatic experiences can have on themselves and those around them.
You can find out more about Melanie Graham and her work by visiting her website.