The Apricot and the Moon by Cathryn Essinger


The Apricot and the Moon is a collection of mostly narrative poems that discuss the relationships between language, art, nature and time. The manuscript moves from existential questions, to personal reflections, and on to a bit of whimsy, because obviously poets do not have all the answers. Using the moon as a talisman and a touchstone, Essinger writes about the known world–the intimacy of nature, the wisdom of the skies–and then moves on to the wonder of the unknown and how it is illuminated in our lives.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 96
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: May, 2020
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-78-7


…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

Everything we thought we knew, and much we didn’t, is suddenly revelatory in Cathryn Essinger’s The Apricot and the Moon. Beneath her poems’ clear surfaces, beneath their artful whimsicality, life and death play out, illuminated under the guiding cast of the moon, which figures here as both talisman and witchery. In its light her characters come alive: loved ones, both human and animal, friends and neighbors, the ghosts of cats, heron, deer, and fox, and even the spirits of trees. “There is no substitute for the world itself,” she writes, and in this book she amply proves it. —Myrna Stone

Cathryn Essinger’s poems whisper their large secrets into the still yet ever-changing world. In this rich, insightful collection, the natural cycles spin around us while she reminds us to stop spinning ourselves and look closely at the small things to find our holy spaces and places. She is a moon watcher, and like the moon, she pulls us effortlessly to places of deep wisdom and insight. Her poems are rich with the tenderness of the unspoken. This collection resonates with humble beauty and wonder. —Jim Daniels

Cathryn Essinger’s newest collection, The Apricot and the Moon, is a delight of image and song. Early in its pages an abandoned goose egg is carried “…home for the neighbor boy/ who loves stilled things.” “Language/alone will never suffice,” Essinger tells us. “[T]here is no substitute for the world itself…” But with her words, Essinger has created a world which is not still, but fluid with meaning and memory, where “small things rise everyday and fly.” Not unwatched, but with wonder and meticulous attention rendered in poems that are themselves small things that rise in the reader’s mind. That fly. —Pauletta Hansel


The Apricot and the Moon
Solar Eclipse, 2017

We set a grapefruit in the middle of the table,
followed by an orange and an apricot,

and then we set both to spinning to show
how something small can eclipse the view

of something much larger than itself.
It all depends upon where you are standing.

(But now your father passes through to remind
us that the table and the room should also be

spinning at some rate still unknown even to
astrophysicists, but we decide to ignore him.)

You hold the apricot up to your eye and say,
Now I can see only part of the window,

and now I can’t see the cat (who has come
to bat at the orange) or any part of the clock,

which makes telling time a problem, here at
the edge of our galaxy where such things matter.

And so you persist all evening, listing the things
you cannot see, until I put you to bed saying,

Now, I can’t see the moon, and I can’t see you.
You fall asleep with the apricot on your pillow.

I am afraid for you, until I remember that you
have an apricot to protect you from the things

you do not want to see. And I wonder if you
are right, if it is really that easy, so I get up

and look at the moon and extend my hand
until I cannot see that simple light.


Cathryn EssingerCathryn Essinger lives in Troy, Ohio where she raises butterflies and tries to live up to her dog’s expectations of her.

She is the author of three previous books of poetry–A Desk in the Elephant House, from Texas Tech University Press, My Dog Does Not Read Plato, and What I Know About Innocence, both from Main Street Rag. Her third book contains a video poem based on the way a community remembers a local murder.  The video was produced by Cathryn’s son, Dave Essinger.

Essinger’s poems have appeared in a wide variety of journals, including Poetry, The Southern Review, The New England Review, Rattle, and River Styx.  Her poems have been nominated for Pushcarts and “Best of the Net,” featured on The Writer’s Almanac, and reprinted in American Life in Poetry.

Currently, Essinger is a retired English Professor and a long standing member of the Greenville Poets.

Additional information

Weight 6.5 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in