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One Leaf Detaches
One Leaf Detaches
Alba Press (UK), 2019
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Margaret Chula is the recipient of a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award for 2019 for her volume One Leaf Detaches (Uxbridge, UK: Alba Publishing, 2019). Commentary from the Panel: As soft, as petal-tender as the touch of a fleeting blossom, the work of Margaret Chula explores and illuminates moments which pass quickly in life and are gone. She is a master of her craft, molding her work from the stuff of existence, rather than pure imagination. chill wind the leaf and its shadow tremble and fall pale sun flickers across the Buddha’s face pulse of cicadas There is truth beyond truth in these wondrous poems: first seeing what is – now – then revealing, subtly, something shimmering, something beyond. The interplay of poignancy and humor glimmer, late afternoon light on a brilliant autumn day: after the typhoon starlings peck his shiny eyes scarecrow in a heap at the graveyard I rearrange chrysanthemums and plastic flowers Immersed in a Buddhist tonality, these poems wear their sensibility lightly, truly the source of belief and not its effect: the priest offers me an orange and apple left for the Buddha holding the water held by it lotus In addition, there is, at once, sorrow and compassion, there is life, and its final bloom: connecting the Kannon’s one thousand and one arms spider webs Jizō statues for dead children faceless, nameless And, of course, there is mystery, and there is awe: winter evening a stray dog barks to his echo One Leaf Detaches is not only one of the finest volumes of poetry of this past year, it is the accomplishment, the culmination, of a lifetime of awareness, a lifetime of active engaging, for poet and, hopefully, reader alike.
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