Author bio

Author Image

Ross Gay - book author

Ross Gay is the author of Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Orion, the Sun, and elsewhere. He is an associate professor of poetry at Indiana University and teaches in Drew University’s low-residency MFA program in poetry. He also serves on the board of the Bloomington Community Orchard.

Ross Gay is the author of books: The Book of Delights, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Bringing the Shovel Down, Against Which, Be Holding, River, Be Holding: A Poem (Pitt Poetry Series), They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing, American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time, Ploughshares Spring 2016 Guest-Edited by Alan Shapiro and Tom Sleigh: Volume 42, No. 1

Author Signature

Author Books

#
Title
Description
01
Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is a genre-defying book of essays—some as short as a paragraph; some as long as five pages—that record the small joys that occurred in one year, from birthday to birthday, and that we often overlook in our busy lives. His is a meditation on delight that takes a clear-eyed view of the complexities, even the terrors, in his life, including living in America as a black man; the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture; the loss of those he loves. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: the way Botan Rice Candy wrappers melt in your mouth, the volunteer crossing guard with a pronounced tremor whom he imagines as a kind of boat-woman escorting pedestrians across the River Styx, a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, pickup basketball games, the silent nod of acknowledgment between black people. And more than any other subject, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world—his garden, the flowers in the sidewalk, the birds, the bees, the mushrooms, the trees.

This is not a book of how-to or inspiration, though it could be read that way. Fans of Roxane Gay, Maggie Nelson, and Kiese Laymon will revel in Gay’s voice, and his insights. The Book of Delights is about our connection to the world, to each other, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. Gay’s pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight. 
02
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude is a sustained meditation on that which goes away—loved ones, the seasons, the earth as we know it—that tries to find solace in the processes of the garden and the orchard. That is, this is a book that studies the wisdom of the garden and orchard, those places where all—death, sorrow, loss—is converted into what might, with patience, nourish us.
03
Bringing the Shovel Down is a re-imagination of the violent mythologies of state and power.
04
An exploration of the various ways language can help us transcend both the banal and unusual cruelties which are inevitably delivered to us, and which we equally deliver unto others. These poems comb through violence and love, fear and loss, exploring the common denominators in each. Against Which seeks the ways human beings might transform themselves from participants in a thoughtless and brutal world to laborers in a loving one.
05
Be Holding is a love song to legendary basketball player Julius Erving—known as Dr. J—who dominated courts in the 1970s and ‘80s as a small forward for the Philadelphia ‘76ers. But this book-length poem is more than just an ode to a magnificent athlete. Through a kind of lyric research, or lyric meditation, Ross Gay connects Dr. J’s famously impossible move from the 1980 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers to pick-up basketball and the flying Igbo and the Middle Passage, to photography and surveillance and state violence, to music and personal histories of flight and familial love. Be Holding wonders how the imagination, or how our looking, might make us, or bring us, closer to each other. How our looking might make us reach for each other. And might make us be reaching for each other. And how that reaching might be something like joy.
06
Using the Jordan River in Bloomington, Indiana as a spine/guide, River forms a small map of local/personal & collective/historical erasure. Ross Gay & Richard Wehrenberg, Jr.’s stories of the rivers from their lives create interstices of illumination in the space somewhere between remembering and forgetting. Featuring hand-drawn maps & a deconstructive history of the Jordan River & early president of Indiana University David Starr Jordan, for whom the river is named, this brief, multifaceted collection pulsates with the question how do we begin to remember what was effaced? and digs at the tradition of curated forgetting in the capital-genuflecting epoch in which we are currently embedded.
08
Poetry. Fiction. Literary Nonfiction. THEY SAID: A MULTI-GENRE ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY COLLABORATIVE WRITING includes poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as hybridized forms that push the boundaries of concepts like "genre" and "author."

Contributors to this anthology include:

Kelli Russell Agodon, Nin Andrews, Elisa Gabbert, Ross Gay, Carol Guess, Carla Harryman, j/j hastain, Lyn Hejinian, Persis Karim, Ada Limon, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Julie Marie Wade, G C Waldrep, and many more.
09
Selected and with an Introduction by Tracy K. Smith

Co-published by Graywolf Press and the Library of Congress, American Journal presents fifty contemporary poems that explore and celebrate our country and our lives. Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith has gathered a remarkable chorus of voices that ring up and down the registers of American poetry. In the elegant arrangement of this anthology, we hear stories from rural communities and urban centers, laments of loss in war and in grief, experiences of immigrants, outcries at injustices, and poems that honor elders, evoke history, and praise our efforts to see and understand one another. Taking its title from a poem by Robert Hayden, the first African American appointed as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, American Journal investigates our time with curiosity, wonder, and compassion.

Among the fifty poets included are: Jericho Brown, Natalie Diaz, Matthew Dickman, Mark Doty, Ross Gay, Aracelis Girmay, Joy Harjo, Terrance Hayes, Cathy Park Hong, Marie Howe, Major Jackson, Ilya Kaminsky, Robin Coste Lewis, Ada Limón, Layli Long Soldier, Erika L. Sánchez, Solmaz Sharif, Danez Smith, Susan Stewart, Mary Szybist, Natasha Trethewey, Brian Turner, Charles Wright, and Kevin Young.
10
The Spring 2016 issue of Ploughshares. Ploughshares is an award-winning journal of new writing. Two out of each year's three issues are guest-edited by prominent writers who explore different personal visions, aesthetics, and literary circles, with the Winter issue staff-edited.
Acclaimed poets Tom Sleigh and Alan Shapiro guest-edit this poetry and prose issue of Ploughshares. In a heartfelt introduction the two dedicate the issue to Mark Strand, Philip Levine, C.K. Williams, and Seamus Heaney, writing, “We wanted to bring them back--if only in these pages.” Featuring work from the aforementioned poets alongside their students, peers, and also variety of emerging voices, the stories and poems in these pages reassure us that great writers and teachers never really leave us.
Read new poetry from Sharon Olds, Mary Karr, and Robert Pinksy, and new prose from Katherine Damm, Taylor Koekkek, and Soraya Palmer. The Spring 2016 issue also includes a Look2 essay on the fiction of Joshua Cohen, and a profile of our Alice Hoffman winner, Ramona Asubel. The cover art is by Mark Strand.