Firefly is a small book of poems by Ellen Austin-Li that I assume is autobiographical, though it may be entirely fictional. The fact that I cannot tell is a testament to the skill of the author and the burning reality of the feelings in the poems.
Though each of the poems stands on its own as a thing of beauty, as a whole, they tell a tale of a woman from a large Catholic family with a brilliant father. She feels lost and invisible and hampered by the rules.
Because “there’s something in being wild/that keeps things alive” she sneaks out of the house and finds her wildness and solace in alcohol. This, of course, creates its own set of problems, and the struggle, both metaphorical and physical, the subject of the majority of the poems.
The narrative is not told in chronological order, nor is it plain, and I may have read too much into it: isn’t that what you are supposed to do with good poetry? Still, you feel the unnamed narrator’s dissatisfaction with wherever she is in life, her guilt and longing, her searching, and quest for redemption. There is aching loveliness in her wildness. To read more or to purchase Firefly, click here.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.