A Night Without Armor
Understanding Beyond Words, January 25, 2005
We are the living
and the living
must love the world
A Night Without Armor is an intricately crafted collection of
honest expression and spontaneous revelation. Jewel Kilcher is
not only a singer and songwriter, she is a truly gifted poet.
Her love for the poems of Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, Rumi, Yeats
and Pablo Neruda flows through her poems in a mingling of
mysterious longings and vision.
I spent an entire afternoon reading "a night without
armor" and Jewel's intuitive understanding of life and
descriptions of loneliness in the midst of popularity left me in
a state of extended contemplation about beautiful moments and
the cravings of the soul.
Jewel paints unforgettable scenes in vivid imagery. In
"Communion" she shows a deep understanding of intimacy
and her artistic descriptions capture environments in sensual
words that slip over the pages in beautiful streams of inspired
I have cast my heart
like a purpled fruit
toward the violent earth,
far from the Heaven
of your arms
Her words will at times take you by surprise and I found myself
retracing my steps to understand the unique poetic forms and
deeper meanings woven within complexity. I found myself reading
"Wild Horse" three times before I could turn the page.
"Still Life" and "Lost" are also equally
interesting in form.
"Gold Fish" was a sweet innocent and playful surprise
and her witty interpretation of life in Spivey Leaks made me
laugh. "You Are Not" is a revealing look at belief
that sharply contrasts with action.
Many of Jewel's poems are saturated in deep heart longing and
many are resting in delicate moments of peaceful childhood
memories from Alaska. There is a profound poem about her brother
Shane and many poems about her childhood and family life in
Alaska. "The Slow Migration of Glaciers" is a love
poem to Alaska and explores Jewel's longings for home.
Struggling to hold back
cling to the sweet fruits
of last-minute kisses
to lose themselves
in the honey-thick gravity
of love so new
Jewel's love poems are unique and she delves into dreams,
experience, loss, passion, trust, betrayal, fear,
disappointment, uncertainty, longing, infatuation and kisses.
These poems are alive with emotion; they capture the beauty of
Jewel's soul and make the world feel a little less lonely.
Anyone who says this book of poems is anything but beautiful has
never lived a life of love or loss. In all the years of
reviewing, I've rarely found such an amazing book of inspired
poems. I hope she publishes more poems soon!
Thank you Jewel! You have inspired me and I will publish my
poems this year because you were brave enough to reveal your
deepest heart in all its honest beauty.
~The Rebecca Review
Jewel Live at Humphrey's By the Bay
A Heart on Display, March 5, 2005
Please don't say I love you,
Those words touch me much too deeply.
They make my core tremble.
Don't think you realize the effect you have over me.
And please don't look at me like that,
It just makes me want to make you near me always.
Jewel's music, her poems and her concerts all show a heart on
display. In her first concert disc, there is an overwhelming
feeling of intimacy and connection.
So break me
Just let me
Feel your arms again
Just let me
Feel your love again
The intellectual dances with the child as Jewel's heart opens to
the world. She is in touch with the pulse of humanity and even
her political statements show an intuitive understanding of
Welcome to the new wild west
Each man for himself
A nation of civilized steeples
And lonely people
Welcome to the new wild west
"The New Wild West" is stunning in content and such a
contrast to her love songs. Some of her songs had me in tears
and a few left me stunned because her lyrics were potent and
Per la Gloria d'Adorarvi
Near You Always
Kiss the Flame
Rosy and Mick
Everything Breaks Sometimes
Sometimes It Be That Way
The New Wild West
You Were Meant for Me
Everybody Needs Someone Sometime
Who Will Save Your Soul
Love Me Just Leave Me Alone
Do You Want to Play?
Jesus Loves You
I loved the part where she invites a girl up on the stage to
whisper the words as she sings. It is amusing, although we can't
imagine she would really forget the words. She plays along
nicely and the audience is amused to no end.
At times she is sassy as she dances before singing, but she
continually connects with the audience in a way I've rarely
seen. There is an interesting change as she goes from playing
and singing with her guitar, to playing with her band. There is
a change from intimacy to a more professional formality. While I
noticed this change, she still remains authentic throughout the
Extras: A short interview with Jewel and a photo gallery.
~The Rebecca Review
Jewel: A Life Uncommon
Rare Footage, July 6, 2005
If you lean towards being slightly more eclectic, this
might surprise and delight you. The variety of interviews and
stage performances show Jewel's rich singing tradition. She can
yodel in her car or perform her music in any setting. When she
sings, she becomes the music and there are moments where it
feels as if music is as natural as breathing.
Jewel's wild vulnerability, the soft pink lights radiating
through her hair, the mixture of woman and child all make this
DVD especially entertaining and meaningful. If you have ever
wondered how a music CD is created, there is insight into the
creative brainstorming and you get to see the photo shoot for
the cover of the Spirit album.
This is ten times more interesting than an unauthorized DVD.
Jewel is actually singing and performing on stage. We find her
on the tour bus, reading quietly while being filmed, singing in
London under a chandelier, standing outside the Inner Change
Coffee House where she was discovered. Jewel's brothers also
make an appearance and Lenedra Carroll (Jewel's mother) talks
about singing to her children and how Jewel grew up in a very
artistic and musical family.
What fascinating me more than anything is how Jewel adapts a
song for the stage and for the audience environment in a smaller
intimate setting. This alone shows how she connects with various
audiences and how her music truly does appeal to the heart. I
loved seeing how she tried to connect with a European audience
and how she gradually won them over. This has Benefit Concert
footage and you can see Jewel enjoying her trip to London.
If you are a Jewel fan researching her history, then you won't
want to miss this rare footage.
Bonus Songs include: What's Simple Is True, Down So Long and Who
Will Save Your Soul.
~The Rebecca Review
The Rain at Midnight
Love, Wounds and Failures
Reviewer: The Rebecca Review from Washington State
"Icy water races past your racing heart,
under raised arms that ache to balance
whatever you carry, what you must (you
suddenly understand) be willing to let go.
Chin-deep. Perched on a slippery stone
that shifts with each shivering breath.
no choice but to take the next step-
deeper into the black river"
"The Rain at Midnight" is a collection of poems
that so aptly describe the male perspective. Joseph Hutchison
delves into a variety of situations ranging from the
observations he makes in nature to the inner experiences he
weaves into poems. Each poem is an adventure into the reality of
existence. At times his words are playful, profound or show a
focus on presence.
I loved how he talks about tidal pools photographing his face
or how the sun is like "apricot fire dripping." He
uses such vivid images and often sexuality is never far below
the surface of his thoughts. I like the unbridled words in
"Internal Combustion." It seems anger is sparked and
it burns or sinks down inside him writhing like a demon.
Joseph Hutchison explores everything from the awakening jolt
of youthful discovery to the slow passionate ritual of
languishing in love. He also explores the tragedy of a failed
"Brightness and Shadow" reveals the romantic nature
of love, while other poems touch briefly on the tragedy of
broken promises. I love "Brightness and Shadow" and
would recommend the book for just this one poem alone. Here, he
is remembering a night of love while he finds various items all
over the room. It is loving and sexy and quite exquisite.
There is a sad, yet sweet acceptance in "An Amusing
Anecdote" as he sits with his ex-wife after their divorce
is final and "perhaps" an analysis of decisions
leading to the situation, in "Good."
"I might have denied myself your kiss, your caress.
I might have sneered, "What's happiness worth?"
I might have let my duties define my desires.
I might have hurt no one. I might have been good."
How could a man living at this depth of awareness be
satisfied with less than a downpour of love? Yet, his heart
makes choices and leads him to love and wounds, failures and
bitter struggles that keep the peace at bay.
In the first poem, he showers while trying not to wake his
family and in the last poem, he pretends to sleep while
listening to the rain at midnight as the rain drops become the
chattering voices of three beautiful sisters.
"or maybe they'd simply blend back
into rain, a dark rain, the lull of it,
the sweet nothing noise and the kiss of it,
the tears and the healing sleep of it at last."
Joseph Hutchison knows how to transform even the most casual
observation into pictures where rivers of words tumble over
slippery stones and you can imagine yourself lost in the river,
stumbling near a shore of "ink-black" pines where
"feverish stars have risen" and there is a cold
comfort in the "bone-white moon."
It seems life gives us choices and then at times, it throws
us into a dark river where we have no choice but to swim deeper
into life itself.
These poems are about surviving life and appreciating
beauty along the way. Even in the cold, black river, you can
look up and see the stars.
You might also enjoy Poems by Ronald
Long for This World
The Scent of Oranges Mingling with Kisses, August 18,
There are moments in your life when poetry is the only way
you can feel safe in a world that hurries past all you want to
enjoy and observe. Long for This World by Ronald Wallace allowed
me to slow down, access a wide range of subjects and enjoy some
stunning moments that are reflections of his appreciation for
beauty. I found his memories of women to be especially stunning.
Not only does Ronald Wallace display a keen sense of
observation, he weaves a subtle thread of memory through some
poems and then presents a surprise ending. I loved
"Oranges" because in this story he tells of how he
eats an orange, how it tastes, what he thinks about in regards
to how the world appears and then ends the poem with an exotic
image of sensory bliss. I was so delighted with this poem I had
to read it to a friend, who appreciates poetry. I think I've
peeled the zest from so many oranges, that the poem was filled
with the scent of orange oil in my own memory. While I thought
this might be the most interesting poem in the book, I was to be
surprised again and again.
The Nude Gardener will be an absolutely amusing poem to anyone
with a good sense of humor and a bit of insight into the world
of men's minds. The ending is again almost an abandonment of all
the former observations. Some of the last few lines of his poems
change the entire tone and awaken a deep appreciation for life
itself. They are almost a submission to the inevitability of
I was not prepared for Fresh Oysters & Beer and it struck me
as being especially humorous. There is a line in this poem that
is silly, but quite amusing. Ronald Wallace breaks free from
melancholy mediocrity during a situation that might be trying to
some parents and sees the humor and there is so much love in
this poem for his daughter who is at this time still trying to
find herself in a world of conflict about survival.
While I will never rummage through an attic, because I've moved
too many times, I truly enjoy reading about people who have
attics filled with memories. Here, Ronald Wallace finds notes
his father wrote in college and has his own contemplations about
Maybe imagination is just
a form of memory after all, locked
deep in the double helix of eternity.
Ronald Wallace once said that he wanted to make something
beautiful that didn't exist before and in this book, he creates
worlds I didn't know men experienced. I will never think of
oranges in the same way again.
This book is a collection of poems from a career spanning two
decades and it took three years to complete the selection
process. Wallace is the Felix Pollak Professor of Poetry at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison and codirects the creative
writing program. He also spends time at his forty-acre farm in
Bear Valley, Wisconsin. You may also enjoy additional
collections of poetry, including: The Makings of Happiness,
Time's Fancy and The Uses of Adversity.
~The Rebecca Review
Also: Time's Fancy
Reassuring Revelations and Multifaceted Meditations,
September 18, 2004
as if we could walk beyond mistrust, loss, regret,
as if, pursuing our true destination, we didn't trail
this residue of the past behind us, part of that cycle
inescapable in this earthly life, that primordial cycle.
Ronald Wallace captures moments in exquisite detail as he weaves
humor, loss, new discoveries, remembrance and ironic revelations
into lyrical tapestries of vibrant words.
At times he concludes a poem with bittersweet poignancy or
leaves you with a line that begs for further contemplation.
Wallace finely crafts stories of tragedy, emotional complexity
or unleashes innocence where we would expect to find darkness.
There is bravery in surprising feelings where sheer honesty
awakens our awareness of survival skills or essential human
Simplicity becomes profound as he discovers eggs in a nest. The
playful banter of cats in "Earthly Pleasure" is
described with such wit and left me laughing as I remembered
each time we have adopted a new kitten.
Ronald Wallace's recollections of his daughter usually leave me
highly amused and "The Failures of Pacifism" was no
exception. What stunned me was my reaction to "Canzone:
Egrets." It was as if this poem was a key to a dark room
inside my heart filled with unspoken thoughts and buried
contemplations. It was as if the poem allowed me to unburden my
mind and I felt free of thoughts that had been swirling in my
subconscious mind for years. They raced out of me in tears.
When Ronald Wallace describes his father's toolbox, I could not
help thinking how his toolbox only differs in material form. He
carefully crafts poetry as only a wordsmith could, perfecting a
vivid statement or softly sanding a sentence into perfect
Could we somehow become the world's great key
unlocking the past like a fortress of snow
and find inside what we need to help us believe
in this sonorous weather, this improbably heat,
this uplifting salt of the sea.
~Canzone: Siesta Key
Time's Fancy is brimming with poems you can revisit time and
time again. These are poems to heal, surprise and nurture. They
radiate with a rare clarity and sensitive warmth I've rarely
seen in daily observance. The delicious descriptions in
"Sweet Corn," the sensual beauty in
"Dragonflies," and the memories of Ronald's father
make this book of poems a journey of the heart.
If you love poems with "orange" themes, you might also
want to look for Long For This World by Ronald Wallace. After
reading his poems about oranges, I had to go buy some essential
oil of orange and eating an orange is now an entirely different
experience. Ronald Wallace awakens your awareness of simple
pleasures and suddenly life becomes a poem.
~The Rebecca Review