Barbara Helfgott Hyett's new collection considers, from close and afar, the elemental forces coming to bear on human character in our time. In one sense a personal explication of a long marriage and its betrayal, these stunning poems take solace in nature's steadfastness, and in the prospect of a newly resilient self, awakened to the predicament of a battered world. The title poem spills across the face of history--9/11, Hiroshima, the harrowing geological formation of earth, the sudden appearance of cave art, and ultimately, the uncertainty of God. The Daphne and Apollo sequence invents fourteen speakers, including a chisel, a river god, the sculptor, Bernini, and the poet, Ovid, each telling his own story as together they deconstruct the longstanding myth of lust gone awry. Such is the imaginative, kaleidoscopic process of Rift, in which acts of observation shatter and shift our view of experience. While we ache for the loss in these poems, Helfgott Hyett risks such honest grief that redemption comes, free standing and moral, on its own.