This was a reread. I am not sure when I first read it but I discovered that I bought it 10 years ago this month. I do know that it has been several years. It is also possible that this was the first full book of poetry that I ever read; certainly was one of the earliest. Go ahead. Laugh (or sneer) if you must. But it is better to begin with some poetry than never beginning at all.
I liked Jewel’s music quite a bit back then. I still enjoy her early CDs even if I don’t listen to them very frequently. Her lyrics were often quite profound and I cited her in at least one philosophy paper [Who Will Save Your Soul in relation to Socrates on the life of the philosopher as practicing for death] .
Despite having no idea what to expect from poetry back then, I do remember enjoying it. I also enjoyed it this time.
Many of her themes are timeless, just as they are relevant to today’s society. In her poetry she displays a keen appreciation of nature, a prescient awareness of the difference between an authentic life and celebrity, concern with deep issues faced by children (divorce, siblings, …) and especially by girls and young women (self-image, awakening sexuality, …), along with a healthy and sensual insight into love, sex and desire.
The book was first published in 1998, the same year her 2nd album was released; she was all of 25 years old. In the preface we learn that she has been writing poetry from an early age and that “poetry drives [her] songwriting today” (xv). She also writes that:
“For me poetry allowed word to be given to the things that otherwise had no voice, and I discovered the strength and soul of poetry—through it we come to know; we are led to feel, sense, and to expand our understanding beyond words” (xv).
“… not all poetry lends itself to music—some thoughts need to be sung only against the silence. There are softer and less tangible parts of ourselves that are so essential to openheartedness, to peace, to unfolding the vision and the spiritual realm of our lives, to exposing our souls. Poetry is a passage into those parts of our being where we discover and decide who and what we will be. It makes us intimate with ourselves and others and with the human experience” (xvi).
I’d say that her poetry represents those views quite well. Do yourself a favor and don’t write if off out of hand.