This Is the Lightness
by Rachel Barton
Scheduled Release Date: Sept 15, 2022
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The poems in This Is the Lightness are fired with imagination and the fragility of the human experience. Rachel Barton has created a collection of poetry that takes the reader on a journey through the natural world; explores the concept of identity and belonging; honors our sacred connections with family and friends through aging, death, and loss; and tackles the present-day with all its perils and possibilities.
If poems had skin, I’d say Rachel Barton’s were comfortable in theirs. This Is the Lightness welcomes the reader into its poem-world through intriguing and often surprising narrative, lush natural imagery, close attention to sound and flow, quirky humor—and most strikingly, a tonal tendency that’s simultaneously serious and light-hearted. Sadness, pain, acute awareness, even trauma and its lasting ramifications do not lead to cynicism or despair for Barton. Always clear-eyed, she remains hospitable. This seems to me a daring stance for a contemporary poet. It’s at least unusual. As a reader I appreciate feeling essential to the full existence of this work in the way that an audience completes a play. Reading helps these poems happen. The last section, “The Sky is Falling”, expresses a sense of freedom and delight that leaves me hungry for Barton’s next book.
—Marjorie Power, author of Sufficient Emptiness