my poetry

Afterlife Halloween Sale

afterlife halloween sale

Hello there!

I decided to run a Halloween sale for my debut poetry book, Afterlife!

Afterlife is now reduced to £3 in paperback and 99p on Kindle! HURRAY!

The sale will end on November 1st 2017.

You can buy your copy today via Amazon! Make sure to review Afterlife on Amazon and Goodreads as this helps me to reach other potential readers!

Also, did you know that I’m on Instagram? Connect with me there @meljenz and tag me in your Afterlife book photos and share your thoughts there too! Book photos are the best!  

In the meantime, check out my latest dear judas blog post to find out more about this mysterious chapbook.

Let me know if you managed to buy your copy of Afterlife via my social media sites below!

Thank you for your support!

– Melissa Jennings


Connect with me:

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Literature Reviews

Review: I Danced With Sorrow by Alicia Wright

I danced with sorrow.png

Rating: ★★★★ (4 stars)

Title: I Danced With Sorrow

Poet: Alicia Wright

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: “I Danced with Sorrow is a collection of short verse poetry detailing the journey of one girl as she struggles to come to terms with what she has endured. It is split into five sections. Each is centred on a different aspect of her life, tackling various topics such as heartbreak, abuse, and finding liberation through creativity. Some of the main themes included are love, life, death, hope, loss, and the rebuilding of self. I Danced with Sorrow encourages the reader to explore the darker aspects of life, and reminds them that even after the chaos, there is still light.” (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: abuse, family estrangement, bullets, blood, death, low self-esteem, body negativity, sexual imagery, poor mental health, war, one moment of violent sexual imagery, suffocation.


My thoughts

Wright’s debut poetry collection is incredibly immersive; the images, questions, worlds created and explored will stay with you long after you have finished.

And so, you came,

and, unlike words,

you went away.

(Moving Forward, p.67)

Wright’s writing style is fantastical yet authentic. The poetry collection evidently draws from real life experiences, however, I struggled to connect with some of the poems as I felt some of the poems were forced. This is probably just down to personal taste.

I also wish the collection had a content warning as some of the imagery was quite intense. Additionally, I felt some of the typography was a tad random, in particular, the capitalisation at the beginning of each line in some poems, but again, this is down to personal taste.

Nonetheless, some of Wright’s poems hit me hard:

What good is your crown

if it’s made of thorns

and carries the weight of your guilt?

(The Reckoning, p.64)

This poem is so powerful, so much so that I had to stop for a few minutes to absorb it.

But, to bear your words was

to shoulder mountains.

(What Changed Her, p.24)

This is an incredible metaphor. The line conveys the core meaning of the collection: survival. This poem will stay with me for a long time.

Why did I read it?

I received a free copy of I Danced With Sorrow from the author. Thank you Alicia!

Does the poet have other works?

According to Goodreads, sadly not.

Overall…

An incredibly varied poetry collection that does not let you go. Wright’s writing style is captivating, all of your senses are engaged.

– Melissa Jennings


Have you ever been immersed in a poetry collection?

Let me know below!


Connect with me:

Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram / Facebook


my poetry

dear judas by Melissa Jennings

dear judas website post

Why hello there!

I have an important poetry announcement – my next poetry collection will be titled dear judas. 

dear judas will be the first of many chapbooks addressing different kinds of beings who have left their mark on the world.

Here is a little background as to why I chose this title:

I was raised Catholic. I was fascinated by the Gospel stories in the New Testament of the Bible. However, I had heard the name Judas before actually reading his story. As I grew up, I realised that the name Judas was associated with the words: betrayal, liar, backstabber etc. Years later, I was in a play in college which was written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, where Judas is given a trial in Purgatory, and well, Judas is shown to be like anyone else – flawed. It is a fantastic play, please give it a read! You will not regret it.

The word association with Judas is potent and personally meaningful to me, as you will discover when reading the collection in due course. We all have our Judas’. 

dear judas will be a part of a series of poetry letters, published by Amazon Createspace. The release date is to be confirmed, but it will be released before Underworld.

You can add dear judas on Goodreads!

Thank you for reading!

– Melissa Jennings


Connect with me:

 Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram / Facebook


my poetry

Underworld front cover reveal!

Here it is, folks, the front cover for my next poetry collection – Underworld!

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Things will be turning upside down.

It follows on from Afterlife, my first poetry collection, but Underworld delves much deeper into the inferno underneath the skin.

Underworld will be released in July 2018!

Underworld is on Goodreads, so be sure to get it on your TBR list!!!

– Melissa Jennings


Connect with me:

 Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram / Facebook


 

my poetry

Poetry Update: Underworld Cover Colour!

Hello! Well, it’s been a while since I posted a poetry update (and an update in general), so I thought I’d set the record straight.

I’m back at university as a second year English Literature student. A lot of reading and reviewing time will be taken up with university reading and essay writing (HURRAY), so I’m sad to say that my reviews will be irregular over the course of the next few months.

In other news, my second poetry collection, Underworld, is ticking over. I received my first proof of Underworld yesterday (mainly to see the cover), and oh my stars, it was a beautiful thing.

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover:

underworld proof 1

Underworld will be released in a dark shade of purple as Underworld is hella dark! I am super pleased with the cover; I really took my time to make sure it is what I wanted and I really hope my readers like (or even LOVE IT) too.

However, my job is not done. Underworld needs to be edited and thoroughly checked before release. My aim is to release Underworld in summer 2018, this will depend on feedback from my beta readers and reviewers, but until then, make sure to add Underworld to your want-to-read list on Goodreads.

Thank you for reading!

– Melissa Jennings


Connect with me:

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Literature Reviews

Review: Like a Moonless Night by Melissa Murphy

like a moonless night

Rating: ★★★★ (4 stars)

Title: Like a Moonless Night

Poet: Melissa Murphy

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: To bring the reader inside the complexity of her mental illness and break-up, writer Melissa Murphy uses poetry to relay a troubled personal narrative on depression and loss. She cannot share with you the half of it, but, as she attempts to do so, one becomes equally entranced and taken aback by the work she delivers without discretion. To be so honest, yet, at the same time, ambivalent about the play of events that led to the break-up, Murphy understands that memory is a construction of the mind, cherry-picked to comforting perfection. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: “mentions of depression, eating disorders, suicide and other stressors” (Source: the author’s own content warning)


My thoughts

Melissa Murphy’s words purged me. As a reader, you are taken through moments of desperation, dysphoria, and desolation, and you are transfixed. As the poetry book draws on mental illness, I instantly connected with some of Murphy’s poems:

I draw from

what problems

I have – like depression,

the constant rowing

of staying in place,

floating.

– Circular Waves

Circular Waves perfectly describes what it is like to have depression and what it is like to keep going at the same time – it is a fight that normally depression wins, in my case. The final lines really convey the idea of wanting to be productive, but depression is an anchor to our energy, motivation, and thoughts.

The next line is possibly my favourite out of Murphy’s poetry collection:

Above me, darkness,

stars dabbed out

by my wet breath.

– Death of the Virgin

I have re-read this line so many times and I still don’t know why I love it. There is something supernatural and yet empowering about this line, as if one could control the universe with just their breath.

I didn’t connect to all of the poetry, in particular, the prose ones as they were quite personal and subjective.

Why did I read it?

A friend of mine had 5-starred it, so I was curious what it contained.

Does the poet have other works?

According to Goodreads, no. (Please note, at the time of writing this review, the Goodreads database has several books under this author’s name, but I’m sure they weren’t written by this Melissa Murphy).

Overall…

Murphy’s poetry collection is earnest in its delivery as it truly delves into what it means to have mental illnesses. However, I struggled to connect with some of the poems. If you like honest, engrossing poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings


Do you prefer objectivity when it comes to poems?

Let me know below!


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Theatre Reviews

Review: A Streetcar Named Desire by Rapture Theatre

a streetcar named desire

Rating: ★★ (2 stars)

Play: A Streetcar Named Desire

Playwright Tennessee Williams

Director: Michael Emans

Company: Rapture Theatre

Venue: Theatre Royal Glasgow

Performance Date: 9 Sept. 2017

Summary: “Southern belle, Blanche DuBois, seeks solace with her sister, Stella, after her world starts to crumble. But her downward spiral brings her face-to-face with Stella’s husband, the sexy but brutal Stanley Kowalski. As temperatures soar and passions rise, Blanche and Stanley battle for Stella’s soul.” (Source: http://www.atgtickets.co.uk)

Content Warnings*: Domestic abuse, verbal abuse/threat, sexism, racism, vivid description of a suicide, alcoholism.

*N.B. Please note that this review is only a review of the first act of the play, I had to leave due to personal reasons.


My thoughts

Tennessee Williams’ play could have been so much more, I am gravely disappointed in this production. I was expecting much more impact from the cast as an ensemble, but only Gina Isaac (Blanche DuBois) kept the energy up. Isaac’s performance was captivating and authentic; during Blanche’s monologues, I became immersed in her poetic descriptions as Isaac’s voice was entrancing, she truly brought Blanche’s charm and wit to life.

a streetcar named desire still
Kazeem Tosin Amore (Mitch) and Gina Isaac (Blanche)

As for the rest of the cast, I was frustrated with the lack of accent work and with some, authenticity. Julia Taudevin’s performance as Stella was dry and wooden, I felt that Taudevin was overwhelmed by Isaac’s energy and relied on Isaac’s presence. In their scenes, Stella felt barely there. Additionally, Joseph Black’s performance as Stanley was pushing on caricature which was especially noticeable during Stanley’s famous cry for his wife – it ultimately felt forced which ruined the moment.

The staging was ideal as it was small and cramped for the three central characters, the pale lighting was effective, but the pale moon in the background felt superficial and added without thought.

Why did I attend this play?

I love Tennessee Williams’ work, so I had to see this.

Would I attend another Rapture Theatre production?

Next time, I think I will pass.

Overall…

A Streetcar Named Desire should have blown me away, but it simply lacked energy and authenticity from the majority of the cast.

– Melissa Jennings


Have you seen A Streetcar Named Desire?

What were your thoughts? Let me know!


Connect with me: Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi