Review by William Potter
Flights of Fancy
Dawn L. Huffaker
October 15, 2009
Flights of Fancy is a collection of poetry representing New Mexico poet Dawn Huffaker’s best work from the past twenty-five years.
The author has divided the ninety or so selections into six chapters, or flights, as she calls them. Straight away it is apparent that Huffaker loves nature, her friends, and her family and of course the New Mexico Mountains, as all have inspired her creations.
In the first flight entitled Magical Seasons, sixteen poems are offered marking the differences in weather and the emotional effects of the four seasons. These poems are filled with youthful enthusiasm as I’m sure many were written during high school years. Next is Life’s Wonder’s. Sixteen poems about college, growing up, and relationships with those kept close. Emotional Trips has a personal feel, as she visits basic emotions such joy, anger, and grief. Nature Interludes takes an up close look at Mother Nature’s greatest masterpieces from the moon and stars, mountains and moonlight to butterflies, storms, and floods. Huffaker gives thanks to God in the fifth chapter, Universal Reveries. In the final flight, Word Paintings, the author wraps up the collection with six titles that wouldn’t easily fit into any of the other chapters with poetry about aquariums, balloons, and postage stamps.
Huffaker has done a wonderful job formatting her book with intricate designs framing each page and beautiful black and white photography gracing chapter introductions.
Her work is observational. She describes the world around her with no wasted words, and without using poetic devices that could suggest multiple interpretations. No simile or metaphor to cloud her meaning. She delivers her message without irony or symbolism to alter the impact of her words. This is free verse in every sense with mild use of rhyme and even less rhythm. Many of the poems here are simple acronym poetry that took me back to my first exposure to writing poetry in early grade school. An example:
Just a time when
One person or thing takes
You to heaven and back again.
Dawn Huffaker has a definite passion for poetry. One can easily see the joy and comfort that writing brings to her life. I recommend Flights of Fancy to those who enjoy their poetry down-to-earth and to the point.
By William Potter for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews
Review by Candace Morehouse
In the introduction to this collection of poetry by Dawn Huffaker, the author likens the chapters to a series of `flights’ – those which are inspired by nature and come as the result of experiencing joy, beauty, sadness, and other emotions. Most of the poems were created in response to the majesty of scenic views which abound outside the windows of her home in southwestern New Mexico. This becomes abundantly obvious as the reader delves into the book.
Ms. Huffaker’s poems were written over a period of 25 years or so. From those that deal with her younger days in school, to those that herald some of her greatest loves – God, rodeo, and computers – a diversity of subjects and styles is represented. But all are inspirational, deft at portraying particular images, and evocative of higher emotions.
I think my favorite part of this volume, however, is those poems which convey nature. New Mexico is truly a splendid representation of natural beauty and God’s skillful touch in designing magnificent glory. The author excels in getting the description of this exquisiteness just right: soft purple glow/whispers across the sky/as the sun yawns/and exits the day; soft pink glow/nudges the stars/from the dance floor/and sends them off to bed. I love these lines and their personification of celestial bodies.
Reading Ms. Huffaker’s lines makes me long to visit New Mexico and view its natural beauty once again, as seen through her eyes; as the author states: I live on the shoulder/of a sleeping giant/his nightshirt is made/of the junipers/and pines. Flights of Fancy is a truly touching and beautiful work.
Review by Chase Von
Flights of Fancy by Dawn Huffaker is a beautiful collection of poetry by a very gifted writer. As I was reading through this remarkable book I kept getting ideas of my own, and one of them was I knew I was going to be sharing it with my daughters second grade teacher. This work is suitable for all ages but I found myself thinking, “Now here is someone that has captured the voice of nature in such a way it has to be shared!”
Summer has its own unique personality, as does Spring, Winter and Fall although deep meanings are shared through out. Dawn gives a voice to trees, leaves, snow, rain, the changing seasons, the moon, the sun and the stars and as you can tell, I could just keep going, but it is a wise voice, a beautiful voice and an Angelic voice.
Regardless of age you won’t ever look at a butterfly, a flower, a tree or a coming “Spring Shower” or “Thunderstorm” quite the same again!
(Excerpts from Winter Scene)
In the cold
Nod their heads
As they dream
Of summer’s dance
(Another excerpt from Flight’s of Fancy Volume 1)
’tis Time for Spring
’tis time to bloom;
’tis time for spring.
Personally I think this should be included in all the elementary curriculums through out the US and that the state of New Mexico should be honoring this gifted bard by having the process begin there. As well as recognizing her creations and the woman herself as one of the state treasures!
Ridiculously high praise?
Read it then judge for yourself! In a world where children are no longer allowed to really be children, this book clearly captures the magic of nature and what it is to view nature with the eyes of a child, unabashed appreciation for the many gifts God has surrounded us with!
I highly recommend it for children and adults alike who in most cases, sadly I also add, have forgotten what children seem to know instinctively…
Nature has a voice…
And all the nature that surrounds us is intriguing, wondrous, mysterious, magical and worthy of so much more thought and appreciation then we in most cases give it. Almost every day my daughter has to read a book for school, record the title and who the author(s) are, as well as how long she read it. This book is definitely going to be one of the books I personally assign to her for her Reading Log.
Thanks Dawn for sharing your gift with this world of ours and I will be sure to let her know also, that this is Volume one, and that means there is more to come!
Your Chance to Hear The Last Panther Speak