rhina p. espaillat | undelivered mail

14 01 2008


Poetry Dispatch No. 112 | October 18, 2006

Undelivered Mail by Rhina P. Espaillat

Dear Daughter,
Your father and I wish to commend you
on the wisdom of your choices
and the flawless conduct of your life

Dear Poet!
Where is the full-length manuscript
you promised us? Your check is waiting
The presses are ready
and the bookstores are clamoring for delivery

This convention is tedious
beyond belief: the hotel is swarming
with disgustingly overexposed women
far too young to have dignity
or any minds at all

Dear Patient:
The results of your blood tests reveal
that your problem stems from
a diet dangerously low
in pizza and chocolate

Dear Mom,
You were right about everything
and I was an idiot not to listen

from Playing at Stillness. © Truman State University Press


Rhina P. Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic, has lived in the U.S. since 1939, and writes in both English and Spanish, but primarily in English. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, including Poetry, Sparrow, Pivot and The Formalist, and in various anthologies, including A Formal Feeling Comes and The Muse Strikes Back, both from Story Line Press, and the current Heath Introduction to Poetry.

She has four poetry collections in print: Lapsing to Grace, published by Bennett & Kitchel in 1992; Where Horizons Go, which won the 1998 T. S. Eliot Prize and was published by New Odyssey Press; the winner of the Richard Wilbur Award, Rehearsing Absence, published in 2001 by the University of Evansville Press; and a bilingual chapbook titled Mundo y Palabra/The World and the Word, published in 2001 by Oyster River Press. In addition to writing, she runs a monthly workshop (The Powow River Poets), presents a monthly reading series, and coordinates a yearly poetry contest, both sponsored by the Newburyport Art Association. Also, Singular Speech Press has released an anthology with her work, Landscapes with Women: Four American Poets.