In her first full-length collection, award-winning poet Ruth Daniell offers work that is both earnest and hopeful, even in the face of trauma. In formally exquisite and lyrical poems, The Brightest Thing tells the story of a young woman who is raped by her first boyfriend and her struggle afterwards to navigate her fairy-tale expectations of romantic love. This contemporary story of hurt and healing is paired with poems that give voice to silenced princesses from fairy tales--including Rapunzel, Donkeyskin, The Little Mermaid's sister and the princess who feels the pea beneath two hundred mattresses. At turns heartbreaking and joyful, with an unabashed eye for beauty and an unapologetic hope for love, Daniell questions the pursuit of "happily ever after," and probes deep into darkness while looking for the light.
Ruth Daniell is an award-winning writer whose poems have appeared in Arc Poetry Magazine, Grain, Room magazine, Qwerty, the Antigonish Review and Event. The recipient of the 2013 Young Buck Poetry Prize with CV2 and the winner of the 2016 Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest with The New Quarterly, Daniell is also the editor of BOOBS: Women Explore What It Means to Have Breasts (Caitlin Press, 2016). She holds a bachelor of arts degree (honours) in English literature and writing from the University of Victoria and a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. She lives with her family in Kelowna, BC.
“The Brightest Thing is a garden of story, blossoming with hardship, ache, love and light—“Everywhere roses slow and rich as honey or amber or blood.” Each poem glistens with a kind of hopeful magic, the kind of magic that kindles with desire and bravery, a glistening readers will want to share in and pass along like the beloved fairy tales we grew up with and still hold dear.”
—Mallory Tater, author of This Will Be Good
“Straight-to-the-heart imagery, fairy tale transformed into first-person confession, a willingness to risk sentimentality while clearly understanding its limits: these are what I love best about Ruth Daniell’s The Brightest Thing.”
—Sue Sinclair, author of Heaven’s Thieves