Author Amy Leach can charm a crowd. Recently she spoke on the campus of Webster University where people gathered, listened, and laughed during a reading of her essay collection “Things That Are.” Leach presented delightful snippets of her essays as part of a Visiting Writers Series produced by the Webster University English Department. Authors such as Billy Collins, Li-Young Lee, George Saunders and Lucia Perillo (to name a few) are among the nationally proclaimed authors to have participated in the series. Adding her name to these ranks, Leach gave a personal rendition of the whimsical Jabberwocky-like language found in her essays that amounted to much more than a reading. Her performance was pure enchantment.
Leach’s small voice bounced around the sunlit windows as if on a beam with a purpose, echoing with vibrancy. What became clear as she read to us about a Moon with a “stony face, while the Earth’s face is a slaphappy burlesque – screaming flocks of peacocks here, and cloudbursts there, and spriggy merriment everywhere,” was the enthusiastic intimacy she has with her writing. Leach flirts with words, molding them and lengthening them into something that is wholly her own with a childlike abandonment of that old hat called reason.
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