Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Her Place in These Designs

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Her Place in These Designs

Article excerpt

HER PLACE IN THESE DESIGNS by Rhina Espaillat Truman State University Press, 91 pages, $15.95 paper

Since publishing her first poetry collection in 1992 at the age of sixty, Rhina Espaillat has created a remarkably large and distinguished body of work. Now, with die publication of her sixth book, it is clear that her body of meticulously crafted formal poems places her among the best poets of die last half-century. To match their variegated diction, range of subjects, and depth of thought and feeling, one must turn to her slightly elder peers, Richard Wilbur and die late Anthony Hecht for comparison.

The poems in this new book are largely retrospective, revisiting the poet's childhood in Jamaica and New York, recalling lost friends and loved ones, and exploring the dark history of the last century. Though modern in dieir intellectual skepticism and religious uncertainty, her poems do not succumb to despair or moral relativism. …

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