Glider Pilot Wins 2015 Donald Justice Poetry Prize


Pat Valdata has won the Donald Justice Prize for poetry in 2015. Her winning manuscript, titled Where No Man Can Touch, consists of dramatic monologues in the voices of women aviation pioneers, chiefly women who achieved firsts in the field of aviation. They range from the first woman to pilot a hot air balloon by herself to the first woman to break the sound barrier. The book was released by the West Chester University Poetry Center in June.

The competition, for a book-length manuscript written primarily in form, was judged by poet Dick Davis. Valdata will receive a $1000 prize, as will co-winner Jeff Hardin, professor of English at Columbia State Community College, whose book is also being published by West Chester University.

Valdata flies a Pilatus B-4 sailplane and is a founding member of the Atlantic Soaring Club in Churchville, MD. She is also a founding member of the Women Soaring Pilots Association. An adjunct associate professor of English at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), Valdata is the author of two additional books of poetry and two novels. Her work has been featured in Soaring magazine, Women in Aviation magazine, and a variety of literary magazines and anthologies.

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