"In a time when so many poets are out to unload the dead weight of their pasts on the reader, it is refreshing to read the work of Cathryn Essinger who realizes that before it can do anything else, poetry must give pleasure. Smart, sweetly crafted, and open-voiced, her poems are propelled not only by memory but by thought and wit. She is a poet after my own heart - and she has it." —Billy Collins "'One cannot help loving a mathematician,' Cathryn Essinger writes, and these poems shine with generous, tough love for the stubbornly individual people and things of this world. Both keen and gentle, mingling delight and grief, the poems investigate the strangeness of the familiar and draw us into their new, strangely familiar places. One can hardly help loving this book." —Jeff Gundy "Cathryn Essinger's first book of poems is a book of fulfillments. The poetry itself is filled—with both the quotidian and the near-miraculous, the close detail and a passional perspective. But filled, too, is the glowing sense of her stories, as they weave and loop throughout the collection, all within a single vital consciousness. The talkative, rich voice in the poems is also full, as in the figure of the cup." "Cathryn Essinger affirms the middle world, our familiar position between the worlds of intellect and sensation. We are small creatures 'digging skyward, pushing through the roots / of stars, chewing at the webbing of the universe' ('Ropes and Ladders'). Ours is a precarious adventure 'as we grope / for a hold on some steep cliff, hearing / only the whimper of ropes and lines / and the swish of the wind.' Here 'everything is bright / and properly placed.' Everything is familiar, so much the same ('Ropes and Ladders'). Light divides the darkness. We know our world and it is not waste and void. It is good."