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I have read and loved Emily Grosholz's poetry for most of my life. Her poems shimmer and sing. She combines a scholarly sensibility with deep, empathetic insights into her many far-flung relationships. She captures the brief, beautiful moments of family that add up to a lifetime--her son's delight in puddle-splashing and language acquisition, her daughter's effortless singing, the comforting contours of her husband's peacefully snoring body. Or, with equal finesse, she paints the shape of a complex, decades-long friendship in several spare, compassionate strokes. Grosholz's years of work as a philosopher of mathematics and science inform her appreciation and rendering of the natural world, present in almost every poem. As her poetry delves into mathematical or cosmological depths, it challenges the boundaries of a layperson's understanding and yet somehow remains accessible, conveying the essence rather than the details of abstract concepts. She brings wit and fluidity of tone to arcane or awe-inspiring subjects: "Doesn't it keep you up at night, this outward / Rush of galaxies fleeing themselves and us / Into the infinite arms of the multiverse?" she asks a cosmologist. (The answer: No, more concerned with failure to back up quantum mechanics.) The Stars of Earth brings together Grosholz's poems, old and new, into a wonderful collection, worth coming back to again and again.
Whether it’s a poem about following the Dordogne River on a bicycle or feeling the stirring of her first child inside her, Emily Grosholz’s poems never fail to move me. They speak both to familiar everyday emotions and to deeper yearnings for understanding a life well-lived. Verses encapsulating a single moment may evoke the rich smells and colors of markets or woodlands from Europe to Philadelphia, then sweep the reader into a meditation on love, friendship or motherhood. I love to dip into this book, and I always come away warmed by what I’ve read.