As the title of this gorgeous collection suggests, Would-Land is an adventure in wordplay and the discoveries of our heart- and hearth-truths that language (in its inevitable slippage) can reveal. And the slips of both language and self are what's at stake here. Oscillating between elegiac and epigrammatic, Essbaum's poems share at once the ecstasies of sound and syncopation of a modern-day Gerard Manley Hopkins, and the acerbic insights of a more sensuous Dorothy Parker, with a little of Emily Dickinson's taut ferocity for the sublime thrown in. Love, loss, coupling, uncoupling, coupleting, incompleting, faith, forgiveness-all of this and more is explored in these poems which are both gut-wrenching in their candor and lavish in their language. I am an unrepentant fan.
-Rebecca Lindenberg, Love, An Index