Melanie Rae Thon Reads “In the Exclusion Zone”

Memory of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, thirty years ago, is still resonant—but its aftermath in the Ukrainian countryside continues to shape the physical earth. Listen to author Melanie Rae Thon read her prose poem “In the Exclusion Zone” from the March/April 2016 issue.

Melanie Rae Thon (last name pronounced “tone”) is an American Writer. She is a recipient of a Fellowship in Creative Arts from The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Hopwood Award, two Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association Reading the West Book Award, the Gina Berriault Award, and a Writer’s Residency from the Lannan Foundation. In 2009, she was Virgil C. Aldrich Fellow at the Tanner Humanities Center. Thon’s most recent books and chapbooks are The Bodies of Birds (2019); Lover (2019); and The Good Samaritan Speaks (2015). She is also the author of the novels The Voice of the River (2011); Sweet Hearts (2001); and others.


  1. Powerful expression of man’s folly and nature’s resilience.

  2. And still the wild boar are radioactive; the mushrooms laden with Cesium; the children born with wide holes in their hearts.

  3. Bees making glowing honey — white horse cried while being lead to the field — how terribly sad but so well written.
    The horrors of a nuclear meltdown or fire and radiation poisoning are so close to us. I live near the last operating nuclear
    generating plant in California, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Facility. It sits on or near 13 active earthquake faults. Nothing can be done to prevent a terrorist attack by air like was done to the Twin Towers in New York City. No nuclear waste repository to take all the thousands of metric tons of waste being generated daily.
    I belong to the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace. Our organization has gratefully utilized the expert help of a
    Washington, D.C. based attorney to intervene in the re-licensing of this aging plant. We won’t stop until it is shut down. Our grandchildren should not be burdened with this diabolical human error.

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