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Poetry Canadian

Ritual Lights

by (author) Joelle Barron

Goose Lane Editions
Initial publish date
Mar 2018
Canadian, LGBT
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2018
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2018
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Longlisted, Gerald Lampert Memorial Award

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.

About the author

Joelle Barron is an award-winning poet and writer living and relying on the Traditional Territories of the Anishinabewaki of Treaty 3 and the Métis people (Fort Frances, ON). Their first poetry collection, Ritual Lights (icehouse poetry, 2018), was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. In 2019, they were a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for Emerging LGBTQ2S+ Writers. Barron’s poetry has appeared in ARC Poetry Magazine, CV2, EVENT Magazine, The New Quarterly, and many other Canadian literary publications. They live with their daughter.

Joelle Barron's profile page


  • Long-listed, Gerald Lampert Memorial Award

Editorial Reviews

"Contemporary, stunning and deeply personal."


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