Editors Note: As any poet worth they salt knows sometimes when you're doing a 30/30 life gets in the way. Our esteemed scribe has been driving a group of unruly undergrads across country and so we've been without his glorious voice for a few days. But Danez is back like the (actual) Harlem Shake. We'll post a few a day to catch up. Keep reading. Let's get it.
Asst. Poetry Editor, Muzzle
"Once a grassland, now a wasteland
barren by, a jealous tide,
swept away a history,
a genesis of memories of you and I"
-from Chapter 3: The Hatchet
So, technically, Jennah Bell is not a poet. She is a singer-songwriter with a voice that sounds like whatever angels sneak a listen to behind God’s infinite back. But that songwriter part is a title she takes very seriously. Jennah is not here for the ‘baby, baby, baby’ lyrics of your favorite, recycled top forty hit, she is here to improve upon the masterful form of Dylan, Nina, Prince, and Joplin. I mean, for heaven’s sake, the woman once said ‘My strength was born a bastard’s steed.’ What? Who says that? When is the last time you heard something that good in a poem? Jenna is one of the writer’s that keeps me going. Listening to her makes me know that there are new words and sentences afoot to discover, that we have not written it all down yet. I have to respect the poetry of her verses, as she demands it. This is not music you can put on and not pay attention too. These are songs that grab you by the neck, albeit softly, and whisper dark, smirk-worthy secrets in your ear. These are songs that build you with their lyrics and shatter you with their voice. These are songs that make you want to be still, to let the wind do whatever it wants for a while. I am here for these songs. These are songs with arms and too many mouths, these are songs of pain & discovery & fear & joy. These are human songs. These are masterpieces. I think that as poets, we cannot exist unless we are gaining energy from the other art forms around us. If that is to be true, Jennah Bell is my spirit singer. I let her guide me into the darkness every time she offers up her gift. Folks, if you don’t already know, let her guide you too.