Andrew Essex
May 27, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Long before she sold 10 million records, Jewel Kilcher wrote poems. Now, in the tradition of Ezra Pound and Ally Sheedy, the 24-year-old singer presents 109 of them for your reading pleasure. Don?t expect any roses-are-red stuff: Jewel takes on loneliness, lechery (?The father tries to bond with his teenage boy by ogling my breasts?), war (?My dad went to Vietnam when he was 19 years old. I think it bruised his soul.?), and puberty (?I look at young girls now…and I think I?ve been there) with tenderness and lots of exclamation points. She also rhymes ?cripples? with ?nipples? and misspells Tom Waits? name. But her best poems, raw autobiographical sketches that chronicle her Alaskan upbringing, hint that Jewel is just a polish away from shining.

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