Daffodils at Twilight

Daffodils at Twilight by Margaret Chula

By Margaret Chula
Cover Photo by David Akoubian
88 pages, 6 X 9, perfect bound — $17.00
Published by Kelsay Books

A Poet’s Tenderness and Lucidity

by Tim Mayo, founder of the Brattleboro, Vermont, Literary Festival and author of Thesaurus of Separation

A couple of years ago, in a conversation about my past with another writer, she suggested that I write a memoir in verse on the dysfunctions and effects of my childhood. This is not an easy thing to do. The emotional turmoil, which bubbles to the surface blurring your vision is often more than one can bear, but Margaret Chula succeeds where I am still struggling.

In her beautifully structured collection, Daffodils at Twilight, she revisits her childhood in nearby Northfield, Massachusetts, with a true poet’s tenderness and lucidity. The poems talk about family dysfunction, a hard scrabble life both before and after her mother’s break up with Margaret’s alcoholic father and the warmth and safety provided by the grandparents with whom they moved in. As much as this collection is a memoir of childhood, filled with memories of fishing with her brothers, finding new friends at a new school, having scarlet fever, and the dreams all children have, it is also a paean to her mother, her mother’s courage, the long life she led and how often the lives of our loved ones, as in her mother’s case, eventually degenerate losing their vigor and lucidity. Daffodils is a gentle collection, which touches us all.

These are poems of the earth and home, of flowers and dirt, memory and landscape, nostalgia linked up with desire. I admire their quietude and tenderness, part celebration and part elegy, the way they “keep their feet on the ground,” the way they “know better than to cut the blossoms.” — Joseph Millar, Author of Blue Rust

During her “wild in the woods” childhood, Margaret Chula pried back “the heads of Jack-in-the-pulpits / to witness the miracle.” All her life, she has “wanted // to find paradise in a place,” in what she encounters. And she does just that: her poems seek out and find the miraculous in the seemingly ordinary. Employing rich and resonant imagery, her work delves into and opens a lifetime of defining experiences. Line by line, each poem in Daffodils at Twilight is a woodland bloom, unfurling.. — Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita