A Nashville Woman

And Other Sorrows

Poetry - Love/Romance
68 Pages
Reviewed on 05/02/2015
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Author Biography

Award winning author and Nashville native Dan Jewell knows only three chords on his old Silvertone flattop, but he and his wife Joyce once cut demos of his songs in the famous Woodland Studio, where artists as diverse as Robert Plant and Mother Maybelle Carter recorded albums.

Jewell and his wife live on five wooded acres near Nashville. His award winning poetry collection, "A Nashville Woman and Other Sorrows," reflects imaginatively his and others' experiences in Nashville and the music industry. Jewell's mystery novel "Blood Country," also set in Music City, received a silver medal in the 2011 international Readers Favorite competition.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorelai Rivers for Readers' Favorite

A Nashville Woman and Other Sorrows: Music City Poems contains a set list of poems that at first are about a woman, but end up being about Nashville itself -- not the glitzy Hollywood version, but the real, soul-crushing toil of the Music City. Not so much dark as filled with melancholy, these poems ring true, as though author Dan Jewel has first-hand experience with the hope and heartbreak of being a working, or non-working, musician/songwriter. Like a country song, each poem tells a story or exposes the inside of a moment in life. This is poetry, but accessible. An excerpt from "The Academic Poet" explains it best:

"But I damn sure won't be using shells of obscurity,
Or rhetorical ambiguity,
Or any other elitist hermetic techniques
To alienate any reader who would pay me the honor
Of reading what I write.

Poetry is a lot less than that,
And much more."

I read these poems straight through like a novel, and then read my favorites again. In just a few lines or a phrase, each entry in A Nashville Woman and Other Sorrows: Music City Poems made me feel a part of the moment and full of yearning. These snippets of life, feelings, moments, scenes, and snapshots read to me like an epic song put together with the best book openings and chapter closings from every great novel never yet written. Dan Jewel's poems are arguably sad, each in some way dealing with being worn down and burned out from striving, never quite fulfilled. But they are also solid and purposeful, with an underlying point that the people who experience burn-out are the ones who were first on fire.

Jack Magnus

A Nashville Woman and Other Sorrows is a poetry collection written by Dan Jewell, a poet, author, singer/songwriter and Nashville native. The title poem, A Nashville Woman, is a series of poems which celebrate the magic of love and romance, and define the cracks in the speaker's fantasy as the knowledge of his lover’s mortality and his eventual loss becomes his reality. In her place, there’s a succession of lonely nights in bars, drunken regrets, and sometimes the thought of going on the road again shines briefly and then flickers out in despair. The Catatonic Hotel is sombre and melancholy, filled with thoughts of what might be, but somehow can’t be reached. Won’t Somebody Buy A Song? is a collection of verse celebrating Nashville and singers.

Dan Jewell's romantic poetry collection, A Nashville Woman and Other Sorrows, kept me enthralled and silently reading aloud the verses that I found there. I was especially taken by the title piece, A Nashville Woman. This group of poems is especially lovely, with lines that beg to be read over and over, such as: "Her soul's light lay on me/In long folds/Like a pink and purple sunset/At the end of a perfect spring day." His lyrics bring the senses to life as the reader sees "the silent gliding water" and watches the city lights shimmer on the "dark, moving mirror". One can hear the lonely sounds of trains rumbling by and feel the chill in the air. His comparison in White Hands of the romantic perception of death with the grim reality of the speaker's loss is stark and profound as he "remember('s) only/Her cold, folded hands/And her cold unsleeping eyes." Jewell's words are spare and eloquent, conveying worlds within a few well-placed words. While suffused with melancholy and loss, these poems also hint at redemption and offer the attentive reader glimpses of nature and beauty. A Nashville Woman and Other Sorrows is highly recommended.

Maria Beltran

In A Nashville Woman And Other Sorrows, Dan Jewell’s collection of poems evokes pity and sadness that insist on discord rather than harmony. Consisting of five chapters, namely: A Nashville Woman, The Catatonic Hotel, Won’t Somebody Buy a Song?, Music City Blues and Country Byways, his verses tell the story of a musician’s passage right into the heart of Nashville, a place that is also known as the 'music city.' The first poem, The Mother Church of Memory, immediately sets the tone of love being lost with the lines: "Trying not to remember my Nashville woman/ The harder I try not to remember her/ The more I remember/ Soon I’m at the sobering place/Where alcoholic haze meets extreme clarity/ Where remembered details are etched clear/ On the translucent pane of memory/." The second chapter opens with the poem A Thick Clot of Terminal Report that talks about a thousand days of pain and a thousand nights of grief, and about a terminal regret that is lodged in the heart - the powerful voice of the self that certainly does not make any attempt to be subtle and restrained.

Consider the following lines from Dan Jewell’s poem Oedipal Mansion on the Hill: "Little Billy Tubbs only stayed at the Catatonic Hotel a week before he blew his brains out/ Billy had one of the bipolar suites, a room on the top floor and another in the basement/ We found this poem on his desk along with one of the hotel’s signed, prewritten suicide notes/." You would immediately realize that his poems spell detachment and a kind of complexity that will either draw in or repel a reader. Jewell's poems have unlikely titles like Dreamville Morgue, Pearl and the Awful Dreadful Snake, One Last Gig Blues, When the News Came Through, and I See Goodbye, and these will certainly not attract your average run of the mill readers. There is, however, a palpable sincerity in his poems that will heighten one’s curiosity to find out what he really means with his texts, so that when you read Don’t Worry ‘bout Me, you will probably heave a sigh of relief. Closing with the poem Cowboy gives his book a surprisingly happy ending. Indeed, reading the collection of poems, Nashville Woman and Other Sorrows, is truly a roller coaster ride that brings you to the depths of sorrow and back. Highly recommended!