paper 1-889330-26-4 A former contributing editor here at Kirkus and a poet in her own right, McQuade (An Unsentimental Education, not reviewed) adds to Poetry Month her unique blend of familiar essay and literary profile in this collection of light and jaunty pieces mostly about contemporary verse. Even the non-poetry pieces—about dancers, movies, Georgia O—Keefe, and prose writer Lorrie Moore—are filtered through the eyes of a poet seeking inspiration in their analogous techniques. A number of literary profiles (William Meredith, Adrienne Rich, Charles Simic, Galway Kinnell) incorporate interviews, but without the dull Q&A format. McQuade is also an acute observer of the poetry world—in two essays, she surveys the business of poetry with a journalist’s savvy and elsewhere finds inspiration in the editorial careers of Margaret Anderson (The Little Review) and Harriet Monroe (Poetry). Talking around poems, and preferring analogy to explication, McQuade also indulges her sense of whimsy in essays about the ghost of E.B. White, her childhood pet goat, and her address book. The title piece captures her main aesthetic concern: her sense of the artist as observer. Chatty, casual, and often digressive, McQuade introduces a wild civility to the public discourse on poetry.