BC Poetry 2018: "Ritual Lights" by Joelle Barron (Goose Lane Editions)

Two Virgos

Hermits of the Tarot, I daydream about reading
your cards somewhere on a rainy afternoon.
Remember when I kissed you after Pride
then passed out drunk? Now, we’re two provinces
apart. You don’t want children; I already have
one. You sent valerian tea for my birthday;
I sent flowers for yours, wafts of peony, bluebells.
The tea was meant to soothe me. Or maybe
you just had it lying around, like my aunt who
keeps a closet of gifts for no one in particular.
Valerian calms, but my cheeks are flushed,
heart beating hummingbird-quick. I believe
there’s a universe where we knit together
on the couch, toes barely touching. Quietly
sipping from twin mugs of heat.


Joelle Barron is a writer and doula living as a settler 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.


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.


Arrived March 2018.



April 24th, 6:30 PM: Vancouver Launch @ the Verses Festival, feat. Joelle Barron, Alessandra Naccarato and Ellie Sawatzky. $10/$12.

Purchase from the Goose Lane Editions website or at your local bookstore. $19.95.


Tearing open the fruit of life.

The copyrights of all poems included in the series remain with their authors, and are reprinted with the permission of the publishers.

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