Whittier’s “Toussaint L’Ouverture” and Rhina Espaillat


The Whittier Home Association and Tapestry of Voices in Amesbury, Massachussetts, will present its 11th annual collaborative readings from the poetry of John Greenleaf Whittier (1907-1892) the influential American Quaker poet and ardent advocate for the abolition of slavery. The readings will feature his poem “Toussaint L’Ouverture,” written in honor of the leader of the Haitian Revolution. In “Toussaint L’Ouverture,” Whittier writes about the “blood-red sky,” and the nobleness of the slave’s heart.

Also featured in the program is Dominican poet, essayist and short story writer Rhina P. Espaillat, who will read selections from Whittier’s work as well as her own poetry. Espaillat, who was born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, writess in both English and Spanish, and has become the most prominent translator of Robert Frost’s poetry into Spanish. Espaillat’s Rehearsing Absence (University of Evansville Press 2001) was the winner of the 2000 Richard Wilbur Award. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The American Scholar and many other journals, and she is a two-time winner of the top award in formal poetry, the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award sponsored by The Formalist. She’s also known for her English translations of the work of St. John of the Cross, which have been appearing in the American journal, First Things.

The Tapestry of Voices reading is free and open to the public and takes place rain or shine in the garden at the Whittier Home, 86 Friend St., Amesbury, MA. For information, call Harris Gardner, 617-723-3716.

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