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Ritual Lights

Ritual Lights

On "A Girl Like This Might Have Loved Glenn Gould":

"The poem sits up at its greasy-spoon counter and recounts its tale, a kind of cryptic plain-speech, an inverted code, all the more puzzling for what it plainly says: 'Under a spell so the wrong ones can’t find it, / So can’t get saved,’ as Robert Frost said." — Jeffery Donaldson

Absorbed in the small, everyday rituals of existence, this remarkable collection of poems tears open the fruit of life and scoops out beauty and joy, pain and suffering, in equal measure. Ritual Lights takes the reader on a journey through an underworld that is both familiar and uncanny, a space between death and life where one nourishes the other. Shadowed by the aftermath of sexual assault, Joelle Barron places candles in the darkest alcoves, illuminates mysteries, and rises again to an abundant Earth where the darkness is transformed into rich loam.

These poems follow the speaker through grieving and loss, heartbreak, repression, and discovery, seeking, never finding an answer, but finding meaning in the work of continuing. A meditation on trauma and identity, deeply vulnerable and reserved, funny and full of rage, Ritual Lights explores the sometimes messy and ugly, but always necessary, nature of survival.


Joelle Barron is a writer and doula who lives on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe of Treaty 3 in Kenora, Ontario. Joelle’s poems have appeared in ARC Poetry Magazine, SAD Magazine, the Fiddlehead, the Malahat Review, the New Quarterly, and other journals. "A Girl Like This Might Have Loved Glenn Gould" won the Malahat Review’s Open Season Award. Joelle is a graduate of the MFA program of the University of British Columbia and now works as a co-ordinator for both Kenora Pride and SPACE, an LGBT2S youth group.

72 pages
Pub date: March 13, 2018