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The Brightest Thing

Ruth Daniell

In her first full-length collection, award-winning poet Ruth Daniell offers work that is both earnest and hopeful, even in the face of trauma. In formally exquisite and lyrical poems, The Brightest Thing tells the story of a young woman who is raped by her first boyfriend and her struggle afterwards to navigate her fairy-tale expectations of romantic love. This contemporary story of hurt and healing is paired with poems that give voice to silenced princesses from fairy tales—including Rapunzel, Donkeyskin, The Little Mermaid’s sister and the princess who feels the pea beneath two hundred mattresses. At turns heartbreaking and joyful, with an unabashed eye for beauty and an unapologetic hope for love, Daniell questions the pursuit of “happily ever after,” and probes deep into darkness while looking for the light.