This chapbook is a debut collection of eighteen poems with themes of overcoming personal adversity and reaching toward hope. In the first of two sections, poems evoke dilemmas and mysteries of childhood; in the second section, poems describe the author’s personal journey through cancer. The title poem comes last in the book. The narrator tells about the gift of a radio from her father to ease her night terrors as a child. Now, she is acting as his ‘radio in the night.’
Several poems are contest winners; “Swans In a Mahagony Frame” won Grand Prize designation in the Ina Coolbrith Circle annual fall poetry contest. “Letter After Cancer,” and, “These Redwoods Growing So Magnificently Here,” each have won first place designations, and three others have been awarded honorable mention status.
About the Author
Judith Chibante, cancer survivor, left a four-decade career in education to return to her creative writing roots. She was born and raised in rural California, and came of age in the sixties doing farmwork, strict religious practices, and sports in school. She left home at age 18 to go to college in southern California (an unforeseen, ‘epic’ experience), and became just the second in her family to earn a degree.
From college, Judith went into teaching. Most of her experience was in a small high school as an English and remedial reading teacher. Later, she migrated to academia at a major university to work in teacher education; her specialty area was training teachers how to work with children having difficulty learning to read. During this time, she edited a book of poems for teachers; this project became the “trigger” event for her return to writing poetry. Judith lives in Fresno, California with her Tonkinese cat, Meisha, a rambling garden, and a small ‘forest’ of 9 redwoods (each named for a famous poet).
Judith Chibante’s Radio In the Night is truly a voice reaching out to us, telling us stories, revealing a life abundant in vivid details, sounds and smells, precise nuances of feeling. These fine poems take me deep into her world and I am riher—and less alone—for it.
--Ellen Bass, Santa Cruz County Poet Laureate (2015-2016)
As an editor and a poet I have known Judith Chibante's work for years and am delighted with Radio In the Night. From my similar farm background to the struggle with invasive disease, I feel her in my bones. I know her relatives and her appreciation for small delights, her early fears of old age, and her adult determination to be more than her illness. She shows us the courage of parents from whom she learned to ignite her own strength. Most of all she shows the resilience and beauty of a loving family and how it continues to support her in memory. This is a gem to be appreciated with all your senses. Read it and you will understand.