Flight Patterns

poems by Karla Huston

a review by Laura Stamps
©2003 • $7.00 • Main Street Rag Publishing Company

KARLA HUSTON IS AN AWARD-WINNING WRITER AND POET, whose poems, reviews, and articles have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. She is also the author of A Halo of Watchful Eyes (1997, Wolf Angel Press) and Pencil Test (2002, Cassandra Press). She lives in Appleton, Wisconsin, and recently earned her MA in English from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Flight Patterns is the Winner of the 2003 Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest. It is a collection of 32 poems true to the title of the collection. Huston is a poet skilled not only in her craft but also in spinning humor. This is a collection that dreams of flight in all areas of life, from poems that sing of misfit tendencies to poems that shudder as the body shifts and changes with midlife, menopause, and beyond. In all of this, Huston writes through a veil of humor. She enchants the reader with tight, well-written poems, many telling stories about women dreaming of flight. Only an accomplished poet can express longing through humor as in the poem Vanishing Woman:

“She wants to believe she can love herself, celebrate the girth of her ankles, the crease of skin around her lips, her generous hips, the curl of her earlobe, though sometimes she’s afraid of her own  shadow, the way it rises like a fever. Once her shadow took a vacation to Thiensville, returned late on a Sunday night.”

In Cuticle we meet a woman longing for another kind of flight:

“For the first time I have strong, long fingernails that make it easy to scratch the mosquito bites I have from sitting out late, drinking wine and studying the moon. One has an angry hangnail, but this is nothing compared to the cold sore on my lip and the ladybug who wanders across my floor. She’s red and moving like the thoughts I have when I’ve had too much — and the nails make picking cigarette butts off the floor easy. Of course this poem isn’t about fingernails or wine or insects. It’s about how hard love can be, and tough, too many sighs exhaled in the summer sky, the lake that burns sapphire, and so much moon that my eyes ache.”

Flight Patterns defines those areas in life that cause us to dream of flight, and this collection helps the reader escape with wings of humor. This is a collection showcasing the talent of a poet adept at weaving a love for words, narrative, and laughter. I highly recommend it.