Winner of the 2015 Donald Justice Prize for Poetry:
To read this book is to experience almost unalloyed pleasure. A volume of poetry that consists of a series of monologues by record-breaking woman aviators (the first woman balloonist, the first to solo a powered aircraft, the first to solo a glider, and so on …) might seem to run the risk of monotony, but nothing could be further from the truth. In poetic forms as varied, and often as witty, as their subjects Pat Valdata celebrates her airborne heroines with gusto, delight, and an exuberant sense of the sheer fun of the enterprise. There are serious poems here (the poem on Beryl Markham, for example, is a particularly affecting probing of the problems of self-knowledge and the nature of courage) but the overall tone is one of risks insouciantly taken and triumphantly overcome. Valdata’s heroines are eccentric, caustic, ambitious, indifferent to fuss but avid for glory, willful and proud of it; and her book reads as though cut from the same engagingly unconventional cloth. It’s a triumph, at once whimsical and earnest in its celebration of pioneering women in flight.
—Dick Davis, Judge, 2015 Donald Justice Poetry Prize
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