Shortlisted for the 2014 Governor General's Award for Poetry
Shortlisted for the 2014 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for Poetry.
Moving from the Enlightenment science of natural history to the contemporary science of global warming, Light Light is a provocative engagement with the technologies and languages that shape discourses of knowing. It bridges the histories of botany, empire, and mind to take up the claim of "objectivity" as the dissolution of a discrete self and thus explores the mind's movement toward and with the world. The poems in Light Light range from the epigrammatic to the experimental, from the narrative to the lyric, consistently exploring the way language captures the undulation of a mind's working, how that rhythm becomes the embodiment of thought, and how that embodiment forms a politics engaged with the environment and its increasing alterations.
About the author
Julie Joosten is originally from Georgia but now lives in Toronto. She holds an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers Program and a PhD from Cornell University. Her poems and reviews can be read in Jacket 2, Tarpaulin Sky, the Malahat Review and The Fiddlehead. She recently guest edited an issue of BafterC, a journal of contemporary poetry. Light Light is her first book.
Priase for Light Light
The 19th-century Romantic poets, who are cited in Light Light, rhapsodized about nature as separate from humankind; in this era of climate change, Joosten reminds us there is no separation.Light Light puts the hive back in the archive, the source in the resource.
- The Toronto Star
To get to the heart of Light Light is to ask whether these poems work, do they entertain, do they excite, do they teach, do they illuminate? Yes, yes, yes and yes again.
- Michael Dennis
Light Light is not light, but light-filled. Philosophical, lyrical, inventive, and erudite, precise and startlingly perceptive, it invites the reader to attend to wonder.
Gerald Lampert Memorial Award Jury Citation
Through Joosten's miraculous mode of attending, through this mind that "grounds sound to seed," we are elemented - "The mind is a mood of electricity, warmth, water, and wind." We are given a mode of attending that is precarious, is an enactment of the precariousness we are and, with consequence, institute. Each thing this attention falls upon "is a source of thought, not its object." So everything is light once we learn to see by it. To honor the field we should "leave the field," but this book we should never leave.
- Jane Gregory
A concordance that emerges as material, thought, and material thought, Julie Joosten's Light Light is a most beautiful and rare breed: as if H.D.'s Sea Garden mated with Erasmus Darwin's The Loves of the Plants. "I was to guard the valley, name it, speak to it by name," Joosten writes. Hers is a haunting lament. It is what love is. What could be more necessary at this time on this planet?
- Cara Benson