The Book of Delights: Essays

The Book of Delights: Essays

by Ross Gay

Hardcover

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Overview


“Ross Gay’s eye lands upon wonder at every turn, bolstering my belief in the countless small miracles that surround us.” —Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate

The winner of the NBCC Award for Poetry offers up a spirited collection of short lyric essays, written daily over a tumultuous year, reminding us of the purpose and pleasure of praising, extolling, and celebrating ordinary wonders.


In The Book of Delights, one of today’s most original literary voices offers up a genre-defying volume of lyric essays written over one tumultuous year. The first nonfiction book from award-winning poet Ross Gay is a record of the small joys we often overlook in our busy lives. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, cradling a tomato seedling aboard an airplane, the silent nod of acknowledgment between the only two black people in a room. But Gay never dismisses the complexities, even the terrors, of living in America as a black man or the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture or the loss of those he loves. More than anything other subject, though, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world--his garden, the flowers peeking out of the sidewalk, the hypnotic movements of a praying mantis.

The Book of Delights is about our shared bonds, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. These remarkable pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616207922
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date: 02/12/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 39,712
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author


In addition to The Book of Delights: Essays, Ross Gay is the author of three books of poetry, including Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Ohioana Book Award, the Balcones Poetry Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call It Ballin’ and founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a nonprofit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. Gay has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

1 My Birthday, Kinda 1

2 Inefficiency 4

3 Flower in the Curb 8

4 Blowing It Off 10

5 Hole in the Head 14

6 Remission Still 17

7 Praying Mantis 20

8 The Negreeting 23

9 The High-Five from Strangers, Etc. 27

10 Writing by Hand 31

11 Transplanting 34

12 Nicknames 38

13 But, Maybe … 41

14 "Joy Is Such a Human Madness" 43

15 House Party 51

16 Hummingbird 55

17 Just a Dream 57

18 "That's Some Bambi Shit" … 61

19 The Irrepressible: The Gratitudes 63

20 Tap Tap 66

21 Coffee without the Saucer 68

22 Lily on the Pants 70

23 Sharing a Bag 72

24 Umbrella in the Café 74

25 Beast Mode 77

26 Airplane Rituals 79

27 Weirdly Untitled 82

28 Pecans 85

29 The Do-Over 88

30 Infinity 91

31 Ghost 94

32 Nota Bene 98

33 "Love Me in a Special Way" 101

34 "Stay," by Lisa Loeb 104

35 Stacking Delights 107

36 Donny Hathaway on Pandora 111

37 "To Spread the Sweetness of Love" 113

38 Baby, Baby, Baby 116

39 "REPENT OR BURN" 118

40 Giving My Body to the Cause 120

41 Among the Rewards of My Sloth … 122

42 Not Grumpy Cat 124

43 Some Stupid Shit 126

44 Not Only … 128

45 Micro-gentrification: WE BUY GOLD 129

46 Reading Palms 131

47 The Sanctity of Trains 134

48 Bird Feeding 136

49 Kombucha in a Mid-century Glass 138

50 Hickories 141

51 Annoyed No More 142

52 Toto 144

53 Church Poets 147

54 Public Lying Down 148

55 Babies. Seriously. 152

56 "My Life, My Life, My Life, My Life in the Sunshine" 154

57 Incorporation 155

58 Botan Rice Candy 157

59 Understory 160

60 "Joy Is Such a Human Madness": The Duff Between Us 162

61 "It's just the Day I'm Having" … 164

62 The Purple Cornets of Spring 165

63 The Volunteer 167

64 Fishing an Eyelash: Two or Three Cents on the Virtues of the Poetry Reading 169

65 Found Things 172

66 Found Things (2) 174

67 Cuplicking 176

68 Bobblehead 178

69 The Jenky 181

70 The Crow's Ablutions 184

71 Flowers in the Hands of Statues 187

72 An Abundance of Public Toilets 189

73 The Wave of Unfamiliars 193

74 Not for Nothing 195

75 Bindweed … Delight? 197

76 Dickhead 200

77 Ambiguous Signage Sometimes 202

78 Heart to Heart 206

79 Caution: Bees on Bridge 209

80 Tomato on Board 212

81 Purple-Handed 215

82 Name: Kayte Young; Phone Number: 555-867-5309 216

83 Still Processing 219

84 Fireflies 221

85 My Scythe Jack 223

86 Pawpaw Grove 225

87 Loitering 229

88 Touched 233

89 Scat 236

90 Get Thee to the Nutrient Cycle! 241

91 Pulling Carrots 244

92 Filling the Frame 246

93 Reckless Air Quotes 247

94 Judith Irene Gay, Aged Seventy-six Today! 249

95 Rothko Backboard 251

96 The Marfa Lights 253

97 The Carport 255

98 My Garden (Book): 258

99 Black Bumblebees! 262

100 Grown 265

101 Coco-baby 266

102 My Birthday 269

Acknowledgments 272

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