Kythe Heller’s collection, Firebird, is an intriguing read across five sections that might, in fact, be five single poems, or perhaps sequences of poems. There are no individual titles, the page breaks could just as easily be thought-sequence breaks, and only the section titles (The Burning Girl, Mattress Under the Overpass, The Spirit Neither Sorts Nor Separates, Runaway, and That Heart) provide clues.
This vagueness of form leaves it to the reader to interpret a landscape in part common, in part dreamscape or nightmare, populated by what is likely a single person plagued by multiple personalities and personas. The narrator speaks in both first and third person of a breakdown, of being alone to mend herself, drawn to fire for re-creation. She wants to feel and fears not feeling, at the same time seeing both her being and future negated. At the center lies, not a glorification of pain, death, and loss, but acceptance by way of normalization. Recognizing this while trying to become a single entity means her struggle to return to an earlier, safer state is not guaranteed to succeed.
Be prepared to be haunted by your journey with the burning girl.
|Page Count||64 pages|
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|Category||Poetry & Short Stories|