Poetry. These poems, chosen from previously published works, comment upon facets of an Italian American experience. In the introductory essay titled The Allegory of the Hyphen, Stefanile identifies his eponymous country of absence as that undiscovered country of America as language, the discovery of which formed his life as a poet. For a long time now, Felix Stefanile has been among the most consistently interesting poets in America....Readers who still need an introduction to [his poetry] will find THE COUNTRY OF ABSENCE an ideal point of entry. In memorable poems and an incisive essay, Stefanile sets out to retrace his roots, to understand those forces that make him a poet --X.J. Kennedy.