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.