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Poetry Lgbt

Excerpts from a Burned Letter


by (author) Joelle Barron

Nightwood Editions
Initial publish date
Apr 2024
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price

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Award-winning writer Joelle Barron looks back at history through queer eyes in their second poetry collection.

Excerpts from a Burned Letter places the experiences of historical figures and fictional characters in modern contexts—and makes their queerness explicit. This collection highlights the circular nature of time, demonstrating how even in a post-marriage-equality world, queer experiences and queer histories still face erasure.

From the perspective of a single, modern speaker, each poem is haunted by a fictional or historical queer couple, connecting ancestors to their descendants and underlining the ancientness of being queer. The book also explores themes of religion, disability, motherhood, birth, and the experience of being a queer child. The poems zoom in and out; gross, visceral depictions of bodies and their functions stand beside poems that call out the hypocrisies of religion in both its extreme and subtle forms. These poems describe the experience of being a queer person in the present day—writing the queer history of the future.

When searching for stories of themselves in history books, queer people are often met with denial and resistance. Excerpts from a Burned Letter provides explicit acknowledgement where it didn’t exist before: You were here. You live on.

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

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