Revisiting Jewel’s book of crappy poetry


Today is Jewel’s birthday.  This really has no impact on my life today besides from the fact that her book of poetry has haunted me since its initial publication.

In 1998 I was working at a chain bookstore that has probably since closed.  The biggest event that took place during my employment there was when Jewel came to sign her bestselling book of poetry, A Night Without Armor.

Since I didn’t care about Jewel, I also didn’t care about her book.  I just pushed the cart with her book on it and kept to myself.

My boss at the time was a corporate jerk who was quick to remind me that he only derived pleasure from Christian fiction and some science fiction, but he swore that the Jewel book of poetry was the greatest thing he’d ever read, and on my birthday I found a gift wrapped copy in my locker with a note that read, “This book will change your life. Happy birthday, your boss and friend, Al.”

I never considered Al a friend.  In fact, I really didn’t like Al, and I really didn’t want to leave the mall with that fucking book of poetry in my bag.  So I left the book on the break room table, and decided that was my last day working at the shitty chain bookstore.

A year later I broke up with a girl after dating her for one week.  She was goodhearted, but would randomly say things like “You know that the fear of heights is actually the fear that you might want to jump to your death?”  I was scared that she’d do that, and also a little scared of her.

We broke up in a coffee shop on the seventh day. She made a scene. It was awkward. A week later a package arrived at my house, and in it was a copy of Jewel’s book of poetry. On the first page was an inscription that read, “Fuck you, I loved you.  Go to page [I forget the exact page].  I did that, and on that page was this poem:

I Miss Your Touch

I miss your touch
all taciturn
like the slow migration of birds
nesting momentarily

Five years later a message popped up on whatever social networking site I was updating my profile on, and there was a message from that girl (who I was not “friends” with) that read: “Hi, I’d really like that Jewel book back.  I loaned it to you, and expected you would be nice enough to send it back.  That was five years ago.”  Her address was included.

Feeling bad that I had thrown the copy she sent me into the trash, I went to the nearest chain bookstore, and purchased a copy of Jewel’s book of poetry.

“That’s might be the single worst book in this entire store,” the smug cashier who I had a class with said to me. I took the bag and said nothing as I exited the store.

A week later, since the cashier and I had a few friends in common, almost everybody I knew found out that I went into a bookstore and purchased a copy of Jewel’s book of poetry.


  1. Aaaaaarrrggghhh I had that book! I bought it as an angsty teen and thought it was great, ahaha good times

  2. I’m pretty sure I loved this book, but I also loved Hanson.
    We were all young, once.

    Jesus, this is some bad poetry.

  3. A couple of you have issues. Her book was fantastic. I would love to learn more about her work.

  4. I think I saw it in a thrift store. You could have saved some money 🙂 That girl is crazy- she didn’t lend it to you! It had an inscription and a dedication in it written by her to you. Clearly your property to dispose of.

  5. To redeem your eyeballs and brillo your mind, check out Beau Sia’s “a night without armor II: the revenge,” a full book length spoof of Jewel’s own terrible tome, with poems such astoo many nightsI could be fuckingall the timebut I’m used tothe daily routine.I love writing!

  6. To redeem your eyeballs and brillo your mind, check out Beau Sia’s “a night without armor II: the revenge,” a full book length spoof of Jewel’s own terrible tome, with poems such as

    too many nights
    I could be fucking
    all the time

    but I’m used to
    the daily routine.

    I love writing!

  7. I like Jewel and her poems. I respect the fact that some may not feel that way, but calling it the worst thing ever written just makes you sound like a sullen, angsty teenager. Clearly, there have been much worse books in my lifetime, and CERTAINLY worse poetry.

  8. Just goes to show that how unnatural and unwilling some people are to take time to at least try and understand another person prior to throwing out criticism. It is frustrating to see the writings of not just only a very inspirational and authentic artist, but a Person whose form of expression is taken from context and thrown into the limited domain of yours. Ironic how you feel deserving of any validation from Your expression of opinion when You blatantly felt strongly enough about to write & Critique something without reading so much as a preface prior to “throwing it in the trash.” I pity your ignorance, fortunately I am confident she will not waste the energy to internalize 1,000 posts just like yours…so the least I could do was reciprocate the energy I wasted reading your post by commenting.

  9. I kind of cringe at myself, as I used to be a huge Jewel fan. I will admit, though, that I still love her book of journal entries, Chasing Down the Dawn, but this poetry effort?? Yeeeaaah, not too great 😉