Light Light by Julie Joosten

Light Light by Julie Joosten

Publication Date: October 1, 2013
120 pages
6 x 8 inches
ISBN 9781927040836

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Finalist for the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry

Finalist for the 2014 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award

Finalist for the 2014 Goldie Awards: Poetry Category

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.

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Praise for Light Light:

“Light Light puts the hive back in the archive, the source in the resource. 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, author of (made)


“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.” —The Toronto Star

“The collection’s keen attention to the natural order, from sun to atom, from weather to grass, is made possible because of the poet’s obvious joy and love for the world of nature …. It illuminates itself; it is an enlightenment project, which has moved through the sieve of postmodernism.” —Concetta Principe for The Rusty Toque

Light Light is essential reading and a fresh breath of oxygen for those of us with iPhones fused to our hands.” —Northumberland Today

“Julie Joosten’s first book Light Light floats in your hands when you open it.  These poems are meditations of the highest order. When reading this book quiet descends around you, calm reigns …. These subtle poems challenge the readers preconceptions again and again—consistently circumnavigating any bias the reader may bring to the work with arguments of reason, beauty and character.” — Michael Dennis for Today’s Book of Poetry

“Joosten’s calm and clear voice not only helps her engage with the discourse of scientific objectivity, but provides for a pleasant and enjoyable read.” —Zane Koss for The Bull Calf Review

“The poems in Light Light are small studies in horticulture, sketches of ecologies and exploration of botany, and how any gaze changes both watcher and precisely what is being seen and studied.” —rob mclennan’s blog

“The poems feel very contemporary and intimate, never straightforwardly psychological, always probing the precincts of the observing, feeling conscience and blending its history with its present.” —Lydia Perovic for Daily Xtra

“In awe of the connections Joosten makes between ecology, history, natural history, technology and language. At how she uses the smallest and most ordinary words (and things) and obfuscates them by subtle arrangements.” —Pickle Me This

Light Light offers a small oasis. Whether it’s approached as persuasive mysticism or wonderful poetry is up to you.” —Ryan Pratt for Lemon Hound

Light Light invites repeated readings as it struggles with how the personal impinges on the larger concerns of our dissipating world. A finely tuned work, & also a deeply engaging one.” —Eclectic Ruckus

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.” — Jury citation, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award

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.

Additional information

Weight .15 kg
Dimensions 8 × .5 × 8 in