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Chemo Files Episode 7: Persephone

Understanding the Greek myth about winter and spring, darkness and light

Bernini’s statue, The Rape of Proserpina (Persephone)

While we're on winter hiatus we'll be regularly posting episodes from this compelling podcast on breast cancer, as well as those from our October conference NJ Spotlight on Cities.

It’s that time of year again, when darkness squeezes the living daylights out of us. And if you’re going through chemo, and need a nap now and then in the afternoon, it can feel like midnight 23 hours a day.

In Episode 7 of The Chemo Files: Persephone, we call on Montclair State University classics scholar Ellen Bakalian to explain the myth of Persephone, the ancient Greeks’ explanation for winter — and spring.

chemo pull quote 7

And we wonder whether we should be fighting darkness — working on some glittering opus — or succumbing to the quest for comfort. Which for some reason, this year, is watching Friday Night Lights, a show about small-town Texas football, with knitting needles constantly in hand.

Debbie Galant is the publisher of Midcentury Modern Magazine, a magazine about age, identity, and generational politics that lives on She is also the co-producer (with her 23-year-old son Noah Levinson) of a podcast called The Chemo Files, about having breast cancer. By day, she explores the future of news as Associate Director of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University. Galant is also a former New York Times columnist, the author of three novels, and the founder of Baristanet, one of the first hyperlocal news sites in the country.

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