Ross Gay is a 2015 National Book Award finalist and author of three books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His most recent work, The Book of Delights, was named one of the Best Books of 2019 by the Washington Independent Review of Books and Shelf Awareness, as well as one of the best reviewed books of 2019 by Lit Hub. This book of lyric essays was written over one tumultuous year, and celebrates the beauty of the natural world and the small joys of life, without dismissing the harsher complexities and realities of living in America as an African American man.
Gay was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and currently teaches at Indiana University. He received his B.A. from Lafayette College, his MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and his Ph.D. in American Literature from Temple University. He is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,”and co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, “River.” He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Praise for The Book of Delights
“The delights he extols here (music, laughter, generosity, poetry, lots of nature) are bulwarks against casual cruelties. As such they feel purposeful and imperative as well as contagious in their joy.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A collection of affirmations, noncloying and often provocative, about the things that make justice worth fighting for and life worth living…An altogether charming and, yes, delightful book” —Kirkus Review
“While Gay’s delights embrace the darkness of racism and death, en masse they share a profound capacity for joy and belief in humankind. This stunning self-portrait of a gardener, a teacher, and a keen observer of life is sure to inspire.” —Booklist Reviews