Poetry by Melissa C. Johnson
Diode Editions, March 2022
Cancer Voodoo grew out of the experience of Johnson’s mother’s illness and death from lung cancer and her own attempts to come to terms with that loss. “I was trying to write about the experience of watching a parent die, an experience that most people will have, but also about the particulars of my mother’s life and death and her family history. There’s a kind of madness of grief — the way that it unhinges and unmoors — that I’m trying to capture. I’m also trying to get at how illness and death re-arrange and collapse time — how they create a milestone that all other events gather around.” Melissa C. Johnson serves as Associate Vice President and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education at The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a BA in English and Fine Arts from the College of Charleston, an MFA in poetry, and a Ph.D. in twentieth-century British Literature and Women’s Studies from the University of South Carolina.