dear judas is the first chapbook in the dead letter series by Melissa Jennings, exploring trust, betrayal, and whether people are truly capable of forgiveness.
~ My Review ~
I enjoyed Melissa Jenning's debut collection, Afterlife. Admittedly, it took me a while to truly get into the collection's headspace. Dear Judas was nothing like that. If anything, I devoured this in a single setting and reread it again for clarity and a better understanding at the poet's world of duplicitous people.
This is a chapbook, so it's shorter, for those not familiar with poetry collections. Letters from the betrayed are marked with bitterness and fraught with anger. I loved the imagery of the crown of thorns and blood. It was rather interesting to read because we all know a Judas who have come into our lives at some point, and whether we've moved on from the act of treachery, or still reeling from it, we can relate to this collection. I have a lot of favorite lines from here.
"don't suffocate in a sin you couldn't help."
(I noticed this seems to be a resounding favorite)
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.
****A note for my faith readers: I'm Catholic and while the imagery were haunting, I didn't feel like Jennings used some religious images as a way to mock or make fun of the faith and the faithful. I loved their style and whatever their intention in using these, it made the betrayal more powerful and humanizing.....we have all met a Judas. We have all worn our own crowns of thorns. We've also been someone's Judas and caused pain to others. It's this deception and greed of wanting power that I paused on.****
About the Author
Melissa Jennings lives with their cat, Dora, in the sometimes sunny but always vibrant city of Glasgow, in Scotland. Melissa is currently studying towards an MA in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. They are an avid reader and a writer of many genres - poetry is just the first step.
To follow them, visit their website at www.melissajennings.co/