By Fire, by Rhonda Slota
“With meticulous detail and plainspoken language, Rhonda Harris Slota unveils the story of a family held hostage by religious extremism when its beloved father falls victim to hallucinations and paranoia. In adulthood, the daughter sets out to make peace with her father and through that process, constructs a covenant of her own, one of compassion and forgiveness.”
~ Paula Amen-Judah, author of Añoranza
“Rhonda Harris Slota’s writing is so fine, so precise, the way it includes the flowers, the laundry, the secrets, that I devoured her story. Incandescent poetry that shimmers as it remembers and reveals.”
~ Lauren Coodley, author of Lost Napa Valley
Set in rural, southern Indiana in the 50’s-70’s, these poems tell the story of a complex family dynamic. This debut collection blends Bible images, authentic dialogue and powerful natural forces to relay the effects of family trauma and mental illness.
The daughter often questions her own sanity as she watches her fundamentalist father struggle with internal demons and the illusion that he is the prophet, Elijah. In this patriarchal world, the women hold together the seams of life’s tapestry through perseverance, inner wisdom and love.
As time passes and the father plunges deep into his fears and delusions, his young daughter learns to forge her own pathway through the maze of duality: dark and light, fear and joy. This finally leads her to reconciliation and acceptance through spiritual surrender.