Ruth Daniell is a speech arts teacher, a book editor, and an award-winning writer whose poems have appeared across North America. Her first full-length collection of poems, The Brightest Thing (Caitlin Press, 2019), explores fairy tales and the contemporary search for happily ever after. She lives with her family in Kelowna, BC, in a house with rose bushes out front, where she is at work on a second collection of poems. 

The Brightest Thing

“These are poems of survival; it’s not the belief in fairy tales and romantic endings that ‘magic’ mistreatment and abuse ‘away,’ it’s belief in the potential within self to survive and the power within poetry to sing.”

—Jami Macarty, The Maynard Co-founder & Editor

I’ve rounded up a selection of poems from The Brightest Thing (Caitlin Press, 2019) which are available to read online. One of the poems from the book that is most dear to me appears at the end of an interview I did with the kind folks at All Lit Up Canada: “Fitcher’s Bird,” about a fairy tale of the same name. And this love poem, about visiting the hometown of the brothers Grimm, made it to the front page of Poetry Daily in April 2019: Schloss Steinau, Hesse, Germany.

Many more poems from the book are available on my round-up. Read the poems, then buy the book!

“Straight-to-the-heart imagery, fairy tale transformed into first-person confession, a willingness to risk sentimentality while clearly understanding its limits: these are what I love best about Ruth Daniell’s The Brightest Thing.”
—Sue Sinclair, author of Heaven’s Thieves

Wearing Tiaras

Already ordered your copy of The Brightest Thing? Need something else about fairy tales to read while you wait for it to arrive in your hands? I’ve got an essay on fairy tales and feminism up on All Lit Up Canada: Wearing Tiaras: On Fairy Tales, Community, and Happiness. I confess that I, a feminist, wore a tiara on my wedding day, and dive into the reasons I love fairy tales, the way I distrust some of the ways they’re handled by patriarchal models, and the ways in which I believe we can make the sharing of them a community-building, joy-affirming activity.

New Work

I’m working on a new full-length collection of poems, tentatively titled Dear bird, which is about birds, climate change, parenthood, grief, and joy. I’ve rounded up some of the poems from my working manuscript which are available to read online, including “Swans at the Golf Club” in the Fall 2021 edition of The Maynard, and “On June 13,” in the Summer 2022 edition of the Ex-Puritan.

Need to be further enticed? One of the poems is called “Corpse Flower,” which features “Uncle Fester,” the nickname of a specimen that became the first Amorphophallus titanium plant (the world’s largest flower) to publicly bloom in BC. “Corpse Flower” was also recently transformed into my debut poetry video, originally part of Seedy Saturday Conference 2021: Corpse Flower (the video).

Others poems from my working manuscript have been published elsewhere, in print, including “Wedding Anniversary,” the winner of the 2016 Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest with The New Quarterly.

Words are magic