by Margaret Chula
In Shadow Man, Margaret Chula brings her father out of the shadows where he had been since 1957, the day her mother packed their five children—all under the age of ten—into the car and drove away. Over the years, Margaret comes to accept the differences between a mother who wants China cups with saucers and a father who’s content with a Budweiser. Through writing about these awkward, often heartbreaking, interactions with her estranged father, she discovers that there’s more than one truth and that each of us must find our own.
About the Author
Margaret Chula has been writing, teaching, and publishing poetry for over forty years. Her books include: Grinding my ink; Shadow Lines (linked haibun with Rich Youmans); Always Filling, Always Full; This Moment; The Smell of Rust; What Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps (with quilt artist Cathy Erickson); Just This; Winter Deepens; Daffodils at Twilight; and One Leaf Detaches. Grants from the Oregon Arts Commission and the Regional Arts and Culture Council have supported her work, as well as fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and Playa at Summer Lake.
Maggie has been a featured speaker and workshop leader at conferences throughout the United States, as well as in Poland, Canada, Peru, and Japan. She has also served as president of the Tanka Society of America and as Poet Laureate for Friends of Chamber Music. Living in Kyoto for twelve years, she now makes her home in Portland, Oregon, where she hikes, swims, and creates flower arrangements for every room of the house.
“I wanted so much from you,” writes the poet. The estranged father plays semi-pro ball, swigs beer, wears thick work boots, doesn’t show up for his daughter’s First Communion. “The other fathers are holding / their daughters’ hands . . . I curl up my fingers / and watch the ants take over the sidewalk.” Shadow Man is a deeply touching portrayal of love, loss, and forgiveness.
—Penelope Scambly Schott, Oregon Book Award for Poetry
In her new collection, Shadow Man, Margaret Chula writes about poignant, often painful, memories of her father. She provides rich details of both his physical presence, from his aftershave to his workingman’s shoes, and the many ways his lack of understanding affected her emotionally. Through Chula’s insights, we as readers can understand our own fraught relationships with parents. As adults facing honest memory, we can arrive at the grace of reconciliation that she shows is possible and essential for our own serenity.
—Bill Siverly, author of Nightfall