dear judas (dead letter #1)

dear judas (dead letter #1)

Dear Judas is the first chapbook of the dead letters series by Melissa Jennings. The chapbook is a stream of consciousness, containing 26 letters/poems addressing Judas, asking if he knew who he was going to be. The author explores their own experience of betrayal, regret, and asking whether people can truly be forgiven.Below is the book's content warnings - please practic...

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Title:dear judas (dead letter #1)
Author:Melissa Jennings
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Edition Language:English

dear judas (dead letter #1) Reviews

  • McKayla Debonis

    I am blown away. I can really see the growth in Melissa’s writing since their last book, they have really grown as a writer.

    This collection is so relatable. I hate bringing that word into my reviews only because I try going into each poetry collection with an open mind, each collection is a part of the authors soul, so it becomes difficult to rate.

    But this collection is astounding and has grabbed my feelings right from my body. The words flow to elegantly and smooth.

    I had a handful of favorite

    I am blown away. I can really see the growth in Melissa’s writing since their last book, they have really grown as a writer.

    This collection is so relatable. I hate bringing that word into my reviews only because I try going into each poetry collection with an open mind, each collection is a part of the authors soul, so it becomes difficult to rate.

    But this collection is astounding and has grabbed my feelings right from my body. The words flow to elegantly and smooth.

    I had a handful of favorites but I think by far this piece is my number 1,

    “When your parents named you,

    Did they know that they were naming a constellation?

    They looked at how you glowed, not how you were surrounded by darkness.”

  • Chris Duffy

    An incredibly holistic, well connected collection, the theme was strong throughout. I couldn't put it down and read it all in one sitting. Would highly recommend.

  • Luna Valentine

    I was given a free PDF copy of "dear judas" by the author in exchange for an honest review.

    "when you were born, did you know that you would be who you were?"

    this was phenomenal. every word seemed to be picked carefully and it's so beautiful the way the author conveys every emotion. melissa is a such a talented poet, i am always floored by how good their work is. dear judas was dark and magic and everything i knew it would be. the quote above is my favorite line.

  • Amanda Butler

    I had the honor of beta reading this book, and I am ecstatic to hold the complete form in my hands. Every poem Jennings writes holds a powerful journey. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of “the dead letters” series and seeing where the journey treks.

  • Helen

    Firstly, I loved the concept of this chapbook - a short collection of poems addressed to a 'Judas' figure in the speaker's life, someone who has betrayed them. I think everyone has at least one person in their life who could be described as Judas - or perhaps has been Judas themselves. It makes this collection intensely relatable and also personal, as the reader can see aspects of themselves throughout the work.

    There were so many beautiful quotes packed into such a tiny book. Some of my favourit

    Firstly, I loved the concept of this chapbook - a short collection of poems addressed to a 'Judas' figure in the speaker's life, someone who has betrayed them. I think everyone has at least one person in their life who could be described as Judas - or perhaps has been Judas themselves. It makes this collection intensely relatable and also personal, as the reader can see aspects of themselves throughout the work.

    There were so many beautiful quotes packed into such a tiny book. Some of my favourites, I'll share below:

    This collection is bitter, but beautiful, and although it was often sad and Judas, whoever they may be, has obviously caused the speaker a great deal of pain, I was fascinated. It's only a very short collection but I've been flipping through it all evening, rereading different parts.

    I'm super excited to see where the dead letters go from here, and I can't wait to see what Melissa Jennings writes next.

  • annika

    I absolutely loved this poetry collection. It isn’t very long but the words had so much power – I ended up reading it three times today. Definitely a new favourite.

    Very talented author, I'll certainly read more of them.

    Here are some of my favourite parts (although I loved it as a whole):

    I absolutely loved this poetry collection. It isn’t very long but the words had so much power – I ended up reading it three times today. Definitely a new favourite.

    Very talented author, I'll certainly read more of them.

    Here are some of my favourite parts (although I loved it as a whole):

  • Isabelle

    I received a PDF in exchange for an honest review (thank you!)

    A collection which explores those who ‘leave their mark on the world’ – a world soured by the presence of ‘Judas’ and memories which have been manipulated the reveal of by Judas’ true self. There was a different style here to ‘Afterlife’, more prose and more questions, and indeed it is a more open ended collection with no answers. There was something more private about this book that I can’t exactly put my finger on. The endings of th

    I received a PDF in exchange for an honest review (thank you!)

    A collection which explores those who ‘leave their mark on the world’ – a world soured by the presence of ‘Judas’ and memories which have been manipulated the reveal of by Judas’ true self. There was a different style here to ‘Afterlife’, more prose and more questions, and indeed it is a more open ended collection with no answers. There was something more private about this book that I can’t exactly put my finger on. The endings of the poems finish each thought perfectly and poetically even if they are not ‘resolved’ (which they do not have to be!).

    I think the upcoming series of ‘dead letters’ will help with the feeling of the collection being unfinished that I feel –this chapbook is not yet the full picture!

    My favourite lines:

    empty vessels writhing on a bedroom floor that we thought was heaven.

    you wished you were a god. well, you got what you wanted. I still pray to you after three years of your absence.

  • Gab

    is a collection of poetry addressing to Judas or to the epitome of Judas in each one of us.

    It's about Longing.

    Hatred.

    Falling in love.

    Love.

    Loss.

    Betrayal.

    The writing and the words are raw and full of emotion. The author gra

    is a collection of poetry addressing to Judas or to the epitome of Judas in each one of us.

    It's about Longing.

    Hatred.

    Falling in love.

    Love.

    Loss.

    Betrayal.

    The writing and the words are raw and full of emotion. The author grabs you with the first piece from the first page. You can totally feel that each piece was thought of very well and was intertwined with emotions that make each and every piece much more personal.

    I can say that I relate to most written pieces and I believe that this collection would be relatable to readers who had met their own Judas in their lives.

    I am excited to see what the author has in stores for us in the next book in the Dead Letters series.

  • Holly Walrath

    Self-published and Glasgow-based poet Melissa Jennings’ latest chapbook, Dear Judas (February 2018, available on Amazon), the first in their Dead Letters series is a relief for readers used to less-accessible poetry. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style, Dear Judas chronicles the relationship of two people who are metaphorically playing the roles of Judas and Jesus. The series of short, untitled poems serve as a contemplation of what it means to be betrayed and the meaning we imbue into th

    Self-published and Glasgow-based poet Melissa Jennings’ latest chapbook, Dear Judas (February 2018, available on Amazon), the first in their Dead Letters series is a relief for readers used to less-accessible poetry. Written in a stream-of-consciousness style, Dear Judas chronicles the relationship of two people who are metaphorically playing the roles of Judas and Jesus. The series of short, untitled poems serve as a contemplation of what it means to be betrayed and the meaning we imbue into the colloquialism of a Judas figure.

    The story is set up as letters, but many of the poems don’t have salutations because the reader already knows who is writing. What I found revelatory in this collection was the structure—unimpeded by traditional form, Jennings’ poetry flows naturally on the page in sometimes long, sometimes short pieces that explore line break and stanza while still being approachable.

    your sweat betrays you.

    your eyes betray you.

    everything betrays you,

    but me.

    Jennings’ use of a personal, intimate voice is reminiscent of those who have garnered fame on Instagram and other online formats like Nikita Gill or Lang Leav. Jennings is also breaking new ground in their use of specific and useful trigger warnings. The book contains an index of each page’s triggers, a new trend that I’d love to see in other poetry books. Phrasing here is simple, to the point, conversational. Like confessions or confessionals. In some places they feel like prose poems, in others like micropoetry. It is clear that these poems belong together and wouldn’t work as well published individually. The speaker begins by addressing their betrayer in the most tender of ways: “I don’t blame you for what happened. / everyone doubts themselves sometimes.” And in this way, Jennings begins to build not only a dialogue between the two lovers who are the subject of the book, but also with the reader themselves. The reader falls easily into the work and each page feels like a natural progression, a deeper journey into the place between two lovers.

    when your parents named you,

    did they know that they were naming a constellation?

    they looked at how you glowed, not how you were

    surrounded by darkness.

    Perhaps my only question about the work was the choice to explore this relationship through the metaphor of Judas. From the title, I expected there to be more religious references and iconography. In some ways, this is refreshing because I think that many readers who might find the topic of the chapbook profane would be surprised by these poems.

    the taste of your tongue will always remind me of hell,

    empty vessels writhing on a bedroom floor that we

    thought was heaven.

    Part of me couldn’t help but feel the author had missed an opportunity. In the past, Judas has served as a symbol for some in the gay community, given the well-known section of the bible where Judas kisses Jesus. It was even the subject of a controversial play in the late 90s featuring a gay Jesus. While the kiss in question appears in the book, it left me wondering how I was meant to feel about the larger religious connotations as a reader, and how those connotations related to gender. This question meant I left my reading of this vibrant new collection feeling unmoored.

    Dear Judas is a fascinating meta chapbook with a firm grounding in poetic metaphor and prose phrasing, by a talented new indie poet who I for one hope to see more from.

    This review originally appeared at Up the Staircase journal:

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