The first-ever collection of essays by one of our most distinguished poets, the Pulitzer Prize–winner and former Poet Laureate of the United States. Synthesizing Gravity gathers for the first time a thirty-year selection of Kay Ryan’s probings into aesthetics, poetics, and the mind in pursuit of art. A bracing collection of critical prose, book reviews, and her private previously unpublished soundings of poems and poets—including Robert Frost, Stevie Smith, Marianne Moore, William Bronk, and Emily Dickinson—Synthesizing Gravity bristles with Ryan’s crisp wit, her keen off-kilter insights, and her appetite and appreciation for the genuine. Among essays like “Radiantly Indefensible,” “Notes on the Danger of Notebooks,” and “The Abrasion of Loneliness,” are piquant pieces on the virtues of emptiness, forgetfulness and other under-loved concepts. Edited and with an introduction by Christian Wiman, this generous collection of Ryan’s distinctive thinking gives us a surprising look into the mind of an American master. “Synthesizing Gravity is a delight, if a tart and idiosyncratic one . . . If Ryan gives us a view through a keyhole, it’s a view often made richer by its constraints.” —The New York Times Book Review “Reading Ryan’s writing will charge and recharge the mind . . . a wonderful entry point to her work.” —San Francisco Chronicle “Brilliant . . . For poetry enthusiasts and skeptics alike, this will be an inviting portal into the mind of one of America’s greatest living writers.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Damn fine prose . . . What a wonderful voice [Ryan] displays.” —John Freeman, “Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2020”