Things That Are: Essays


Product Details

$16.00  $14.88
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
5.3 X 0.7 X 7.9 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author

Amy Leach grew up in Texas, where she graduated with a BA from Southwestern Adventist College in 2000. Since receiving her M.F.A. in nonfiction creative writing from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2005, her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and reviews, including The Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, Orion Magazine, A Public Space, and Los Angeles Review. She has been recognized with the Whiting Writers' Award (2010), a Best American Essays honor (2009), a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award (2008), and a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Amy Leach lives in Montana.


"Sheer scrambling delight." --Lawrence Weschler

"One of the most exciting and original writers in America." --Yiyun Li

"Loopy, mad-hatterish, infernally addictive writing that makes you sneeze." --David Abram

"You need this book." --Seth Marko, UCSD Bookstore

"I haven't seen such imagination and magical use of language in nature writing since I first read Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek." --Dale Szczeblowski, Porter Square Books

"If you love words and the natural world, Amy Leach will lead you through the world with new eyes." --Jeanne Costello, Maria's Bookshop

"Sparkling, priceless." --Stacie Williams, Boswell Book Company

"This is just the book to tuck into a backpack for a thoughtful read under open skies, or for curling up with while sitting on the deck." --Kristine Kaufman, Snow Goose Bookstore

"Words of wisdom....Ms. Leach humanizes and elevates."

"[Leach] amuses, and amazes." --The Guardian

"A rarity." --Financial Times

"Magical." --Washington Independent Review of Books

"My new favorite author." --St. Paul Pioneer Press

"Beautiful, graceful essays.... It's science made into poetry." --Missoula Independent

"Reminiscent of Diane Ackerman's [essays], with a bit more fizz." --Minneapolis StarTribune

"Whimsical and enchanting." --New Letters

"Leach's expositions take on a mythic tone likened to a fairy tale or a bedtime story."

"This is a bonbon of a book." --Kirkus

"Verbal delight." --Publishers Weekly

"The living world has a new and sprightly champion in Leach, winner of a Whiting Writers' Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. In her first collection of essays, gracefully illustrated by Nate Christopherson in the mode of Barry Moser and Rockwell Kent, Leach is nimble, precise, dynamic, witty, and metaphysical. She writes of wondrously adaptive goats, penguins enduring blizzards to protect what may well be a stone instead of an egg, and tiny warblers who travel thousands of miles. Leach discerns the pea plant's 'yearning' for connection as it sends out its searching tendrils and compares bamboodependent pandas to penitents. In her heady and astute approach to natural history, her disarming concoctions of science and fancy, she is part Diane Ackerman, part Margaret Atwood. Also a bluegrass musician, she writes delectably rhythmic, singing sentences. Here be dragons, water lilies, jellyfish, and spiritual quests. Leach looks to the heavens, too, considering with high imagination the forces that shape stars and galaxies. Even as she fashions a bit of bluesy satire to decry our abuse of nature, Leach is ecstatic in her knowledgeable, resplendent, and exhilarating contemplations of everything from subatomic particles to dust, Spinoza, donkeys, and caterpillars."