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Today's poem is "Bittersweet"
from Rehearsing Absence

The University of Evansville Press

Rhina Espaillat is the author of two previous collections of poetry: Lapsing to Grace, and Where Horizons Go. She received the T. S. Eliot Prize for Where Horizons Go and the Richard Wilbur Award for Rehearsing Absence. She is a past winner of the Howard Nemerov Award and the Sparrow Sonnet Award. Her work has been published in many literary journals including Poetry, American Scholar, The Formalist, and Orbis.

About Rehearsing Absence:

"Rhina Espaillat does the hardest thing of all for a poet — she talks about large subjects in a quiet voice and wholly commands the reader's attention and assent. Her work's strength lies in its limpid clarity, in the delicacy and precision of its language, and not least in its humane wisdom. The poems are gorgeously crafted, with the kind of unobtrusive skill that leaves the reader humbled and grateful; they speak to us in the steady, trustworthy tones of an old friend whose comfort and understanding we know are real and won't fail. Rehearsing Absence is a wonderful book."
—Dick Davis

"Rooted in dailiness, sculpted with a particularly canny sense of the line, Rhina Espaillat's poems, especially her wonderful sonnets, keep their feet on the ground while their spirited thoughts range all over creation. A burnished collection."
—Rachel Hadas

"Few poets, these days, would have the nerve to call a poem 'Motto Suitable for Embroidery;' and none that I know but Rhina Espaillat would have the wisdom and skill to write the poem beneath that title, an evenhanded meditation on faith and doubt, that, like so much of the work in this superb collection, celebrates present joys while acknowledging the inevitability of future losses. Here is 'speech/spiced and complex and tart,' in poems that linger and recur long after they have been read: read them!"
—Charles Martin

"It is difficult to know what to admire most in Rehearsing Absence. Rhina P. Espaillat's seemingly effortless command of form — of her various forms — is breathtaking; what might have proved limiting or constricting in other hands, reveals modulations and subtleties that constitute a new music. Even-paced, precise, utterly self-possessed, her wise woman's voice plays over, and plays with, contingencies, continuities, and contrarieties, illuminating them with a steady light of intelligence. Her habit of — and faculty with — metaphor, her probing of close mysteries, her examination of the here and now against the backdrop of an unyielding universe may evoke Frost, but ultimately she is like no one else. Rhina P. Espaillat has become an essential poet, and she is writing at the top of her bent."
—Bruce Bennett



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