Friday, 22 September 2017

It’s Poetry Friday! This week, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has hosting duties. Congrats to Amy on her latest poetic picture book. READ! READ! READ! came out this week. You’ll find all of the Poetry Friday links at The Poem Farm.

Winner of the 2015 Donald Justice Poetry Prize.

My friend, novelist and poet Patricia Valdata, visited recently. She was here to feature at the local literary and open-mic series I co-host, Wilde Readings.

Pat’s latest book is Where No Man Can Touch, a book of persona poems! You know how much I love persona poems. This series is all about women who were first in flight. (Pat is an amateur pilot.)

Here is a description of the book from JMWW literary journal:

“Valdata did extensive research to compile the stories of the many women around the world who took to the skies. Where No Man Can Touch is organized by time periods stretching through the centuries, beginning with the 1700s-1800s and then moving through the 20th century in 10-year increments, ending with the last poem in 1953. Each poem starts with a short epigraph that includes the dates of the woman’s life and the dates of her major flight-related accomplishments. By providing readers with a clear frame of reference, Valdata showcases the range of international women who were enchanted by the dream of flight.”

There are many wonderful voices in this book. One of my favorites is this concrete poem, “Landing on Her Feet.” Pat captures the humor and will of the poem’s speaker, Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick. I love that this is a shape poem, with the reader’s eyes billowing out in long lines first, then falling down the page.

Published with permission of the author.

The National Air and Space Museum has a great page about Tiny Broadwick. Her personality leaps off the page. You can check that out and see her parachute here.

Patricia Valdata is a poet and novelist. Her book of persona poems in the voices of women aviation pioneers, Where No Man Can Touch, received the Donald Justice Prize and was published in 2015 by West Chester University. Her poetry has appeared recently in Ecotone, Italian Americana, Little Patuxent Review, and Passager. She has work forthcoming in String Poet and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse.

41 responses to “Poetry Friday: Landing on Her Feet”

  1. oooooooooooooooh! I need to read this book! Pat’s book is close to my heart in historical research and story telling. Amy has a great mentor poem exercise on The Poem Farm today. I am quite sure that Where No Man Can Touch will hold at least one for me. Thanks so much for the tip. If Pat is speaking in the DC/VA area again, how can I find out? I’d love to hear and meet her.
    Thanks, as always, for piquing my interest in poetry!

  2. Diane Mayr says:

    My kind of poetry! Poehistory! Thanks for the introduction to Pat’s collection.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Hi, Diane. You’ll love the persona poems, too. Pat does a wonderful job capturing all of the disparate voices and the whys behind each woman’s urge to fly.

  3. Irene Latham says:

    What fun, indeed! I was just telling a group yesterday to “write about your obsessions.” I love how Pat has done just that. Thank you — from a gal who also loves persona poems. xo

  4. Pat Valdata says:

    I’m so happy others enjoy this poem as much as I do! If you’d like to see more, I’ll be selling books at the Williamsburg Book Festival in Virginia on Saturday, October 21. Please see for details. The book is also available online from Measure Press. Their catalog is alphabetical, so you’ll have to scroll down.

  5. I. want. this. book! My graduation gift to myself from college was earning my pilot’s license. In addition to flying whenever I could, I read everything I could get my hands on about women pilots, especially those who flew between the two world wars. The poem you shared (even though I have no desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane) is delightful. I want more!

  6. jama says:

    Cool and fun poem, wonderful theme for a book. Never knew about Georgia Broadwick before. Thanks for sharing about Pat’s book!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Jama! There’s a wonderful poem in this book where two women aviators meet for tea (between flights) as one is traveling from the UK to Africa, and other other from Africa to the U.K. You’d love it.

  7. Skydiving is pure fun. The scariest ride in the park. Great poem.

  8. Sara McAulay says:

    I love this poem! Shape and voice work together so well. I’m forwarding the link to my sister-out-law 🙂 who’s a pilot with a small air-taxi service. She’ll really appreciate it.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Sara. I agree — it’s hard to imagine another form for this poem. I’m glad you have someone to share “Landing on Her Feet” with.

  9. Tara says:

    I want this book, too – and how I love this poem! Thanks for sharing Pat’s work with us today, Irene.

  10. Fran Claggett says:

    Great fun to find Pat’s poem and a description of her wonderful book. I love this poem and highly recommend her book–it’s both enlightening and so very well-written!

  11. Tabatha says:

    Terrific concrete poem! I love that her nickname is “Tiny” — she certainly had a big presence!

  12. KatApel says:

    Loving the lightness of history in this entertaining and engaging shape format. Beautiful!

  13. Oh, this looks like a terrific read! Thanks for sharing “Landing on Her Feet”–it made me smile!

  14. What a fun and inspiring-sounding book! Appreciations to you both for sharing. (The daring that Tiny possessed – oh, my!)

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Some of the poems and stories in this book are amazing. Wing-walkers! And in the early days of flight. Yes — they were daring.

  15. I love this post. Being a person who has original bloomers from the Victorian times, this post tickled my fancy and my desire to read more. Hooray for woman power.

  16. You hit home for me, Laura, sharing your friend Patricia Valdata’s latest book, “Where No Man Can Touch!” I have a good friend who is a woman pilot, that I’d like to share this with. Though I think I’ll have to get a copy for myself too, I love what she’s done with the concrete poem you shared, many thanks!

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Perfect, Michelle! The persona poems in this book are wonderful — informative but also filled with voice.

  17. Pat Valdata says:

    Oh, my gosh, thank you all so much! If you’d like to chat more, please contact me through my website and we can exchange emails. I’m always happy to talk about flying and/or poetry!

  18. Wonderful wonderful! And I love it that this dropping blossom of decorum is called Tiny, when clearly she was larger than life. Masterfully crafted–thanks for sharing, Laura, and kudos to Pat!

  19. This poem makes me
    Thank you!! I love learning about poets and their fascinations. Thank you, Laura. You always share so generously and wisely. Peace. x

  20. […] Earhart, reminded me of reading Pat Valdata’s book, Where No Man Can Touch. You can read my post about that book — all persona poems spoken in the voices of women pioneers of flight — right […]

  21. […] I had to laugh when I saw that my friend Pat Valdata wrote a poem about the toilet paper shortage. You may remember Pat’s book on women in avaiation, Where No Man Can Touch and the cool concrete poem (shaped like a parachute!) I shared in a 2017 PF post. […]

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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