Just This is Margaret Chula’s seventh collection of poetry. Although Chula’s tanka convey contemporary moments, they are located in the tradition of classical waka, the earlier form of tanka. The book contains the traditional number of one hundred tanka, and each section of the book begins with a classical waka translated by Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani. Just This was designed by Jonathan Greene, features a cover photograph by artist, Dobree Adams, and contains an introduction by poet and translator, Amelia Fielden. The poems in this Just This range from the poignant to the humorous and offer glimpses into what it means to celebrate, to love, to grieve, and ultimately to embrace the complexities of being human. They clearly demonstrate why Chula, the current President of the Tanka Society of America, is one of the foremost practitioners of Japanese poetic forms writing today.
Praise for Just This
I have read poetry for years . . . but I’ve never had such an immediate connection to a set of poems as I did reading Just This.
– James Falzone
Margaret Chula’s tanka are deeply enriched and informed by her study of their Japanese ancestors, yet remain distinctly American and distinctly her own. . . . these are poems of endearing insight and revelation.
– Sam Hamill
A second full-length tanka collection by Margaret Chula is indeed cause for celebration. . . . Like the skilled practitioner of ikebana, she arranges beauty with every flower of the heart.
– Cherie Hunter Day
Poems from Just This
in the garden
just before dusk
touching leaves and flowers
as I never touched you
my parents and in-laws
moving toward senility
there is no one
I need to impress
how can barren
be so beautiful
the silver limbs
against a cobalt sky
from the garden
a handful of lilacs
and mint for my tea
lilt of a Mozart concerto
just this, just this
Chula has been writing and teaching haiku, tanka, and haibun for nearly
thirty-five years. Her previous collections of poetry include: Grinding my
ink (Haiku Society of America Book Award);
Shadow Lines (linked haibun with Rich Youmans); Always
Filling, Always Full; This Moment; The Smell of Rust; and What
Remains: Japanese Americans in Internment Camps with quilt artist Cathy
Erickson. She also has produced a CD of haiku from Grinding my ink with
woodwind musician Ken Ulansey. Her haiku have been printed on Itoen tea
cans sold in stores and vending machines all over Japan, on billboards in Tokyo
train stations, and on a construction site fence in Portland, Oregon, for the
new Orange Line transit system.
is also a performance artist, promoting tanka through her one-woman show ‘Three
Women Who Loved Love,’ using music, dialogue, and period costumes to re-enact
the lives of poets Izumi Shikibu, Akiko Yosano, and Masajo Suzuki. ‘Three
Women’ premiered in Krakow in 2003 and toured to New York, Boston, Portland,
Ottawa, and Ogaki, Japan.
work has been supported by grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council
and Oregon Literary Arts as well as fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center,
the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and Hypatia-in-the-Woods.
currently serves as President of the Tanka Society of America and as Poet
Laureate for Friends of Chamber Music. Having lived in Kyoto for twelve years,
she now makes her home in Portland, Oregon, where she hikes, gardens, swims,
and creates flower arrangements for every room of the house.
to Maggie read at the Oregon Poetic Voices Project
view her poems at Mark Thalman’s poetry.us.com
on her website