Literature Reviews

Review: Like a Moonless Night by Melissa Murphy

like a moonless night

Rating: ★★★★ (4 stars)

Title: Like a Moonless Night

Poet: Melissa Murphy

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: To bring the reader inside the complexity of her mental illness and break-up, writer Melissa Murphy uses poetry to relay a troubled personal narrative on depression and loss. She cannot share with you the half of it, but, as she attempts to do so, one becomes equally entranced and taken aback by the work she delivers without discretion. To be so honest, yet, at the same time, ambivalent about the play of events that led to the break-up, Murphy understands that memory is a construction of the mind, cherry-picked to comforting perfection. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: “mentions of depression, eating disorders, suicide and other stressors” (Source: the author’s own content warning)


My thoughts

Melissa Murphy’s words purged me. As a reader, you are taken through moments of desperation, dysphoria, and desolation, and you are transfixed. As the poetry book draws on mental illness, I instantly connected with some of Murphy’s poems:

I draw from

what problems

I have – like depression,

the constant rowing

of staying in place,

floating.

– Circular Waves

Circular Waves perfectly describes what it is like to have depression and what it is like to keep going at the same time – it is a fight that normally depression wins, in my case. The final lines really convey the idea of wanting to be productive, but depression is an anchor to our energy, motivation, and thoughts.

The next line is possibly my favourite out of Murphy’s poetry collection:

Above me, darkness,

stars dabbed out

by my wet breath.

– Death of the Virgin

I have re-read this line so many times and I still don’t know why I love it. There is something supernatural and yet empowering about this line, as if one could control the universe with just their breath.

I didn’t connect to all of the poetry, in particular, the prose ones as they were quite personal and subjective.

Why did I read it?

A friend of mine had 5-starred it, so I was curious what it contained.

Does the poet have other works?

According to Goodreads, no. (Please note, at the time of writing this review, the Goodreads database has several books under this author’s name, but I’m sure they weren’t written by this Melissa Murphy).

Overall…

Murphy’s poetry collection is earnest in its delivery as it truly delves into what it means to have mental illnesses. However, I struggled to connect with some of the poems. If you like honest, engrossing poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings


Do you prefer objectivity when it comes to poems?

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