Breaking the Surface and the Importance of Breathing, by Nancy Haydon Gray, published by Peace and Poetry Press, Newark, Delaware, 2013. Available in soft cover through Amazon, $12.95.©
In this beautiful, illustrated book of poems and stories, Nancy takes readers through 25 years of her life. It begins as she is newly widowed and writes, “That is the hardest thing: to hold on to my right to my own life each day instead of someone else’s.” She works her way through her husband’s proud and daunting mindset. Then, on her own, she moves to the high plains of Colorado, and does, indeed, breathe deeply, joyously.
Her serious themes give way to delight in motherhood and childhood, and she leaves readers at the end with a whimsical version of the creation of the earth and a plea that her brilliant friend let her be right at least once. She has built her own feminist theme that runs through her poems. She becomes more and more confident. She ceases to question so much. And, as her title tells her readers, she truly breaks through the surface of uncertainty and breathes freely and confidently. She will celebrate her 80th birthday in January, 2015, and plans a big celebration. Nancy lives in Newark, Delaware. When her husband ran high tech factories overseas, the family lived in Helensburgh, Scotland, and Galway, the Republic of Ireland. She travels to Sydney, Australia, and Boston, Massachusetts, to visit family. She looks for new ideas everywhere and is working on a children’s story book and a new book of poems.