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About this poet

Ross Gay was born on August 1, 1974 in Youngstown, Ohio. He received a BA in English/Art from  Lafayette College, an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a PhD in English from Temple University.

He is the author of three collections of poetry: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Award, Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), and Against Which (Cavankerry Press, 2006).

Gay is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', and an editor of the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.

His honors include fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

He currently teaches at Indiana University and in Drew University's Low-Residency MFA program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation. 


Bibliography
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)
Bringing the Shovel Down (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011)
Against Which (Cavankerry Press, 2006).
 

For Some Slight I Can't Quite Recall

Was with the pudgy hands of a thirteen-year-old
that I took the marble of his head
just barely balanced on his reedy neck
and with the brute tutelage
of years fighting the neighbor kids
and too the lightning of my father's
stiff palm I leaned the boy's head
full force into the rattly pane of glass
on the school bus and did so with the eagle of justice
screaming in my ear as he always does
for the irate and stupid I made the window sing
and bend and the skinny boy too
whose eyes grew to lakes lit by mortar fire
bleating with his glasses crooked
I'm not an animal walking in place
on the green vinyl seat looking far away
and me watching him and probably almost smiling
at the song and dance I made of the weak
and skinny boy who towering above me
became even smaller and bizarre and birdlike
pinned and beating his wings frantically
against his cage and me probably
almost smiling as is the way of the stupid
and cruel watching the weak and small
and innocent not getting away.

From Bringing the Shovel Down, published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2011 by Ross Gay. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

From Bringing the Shovel Down, published by University of Pittsburgh Press. Copyright © 2011 by Ross Gay. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Ross Gay

Ross Gay

Ross Gay is the author of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Award.

by this poet

poem

Is that Eric Garner worked
for some time for the Parks and Rec.
Horticultural Department, which means,
perhaps, that with his very large hands,
perhaps, in all likelihood,
he put gently into the earth
some plants which, most likely,
some of them, in all likelihood,
continue

poem
Today, November 28th, 2005, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,
I am staring at my hands in the common pose
of the hungry and penitent. I am studying again
the emptiness of my clasped hands, wherein I see
my sister-in-law days from birthing 
the small thing which will erase,
in some sense, the mystery of my father's
poem

Tumbling through the
city in my
mind without once
looking up
the racket in
the lugwork probably
rehearsing some
stupid thing I
said or did
some crime or
other the city they
say is a lonely
place until yes
the sound of sweeping
and a woman