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.
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 it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. He is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. Gay has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University.
Richard Taylor is professor of English and Kenan Visiting Writer at Transylvania University and former Poet Laureate of Kentucky. Taylor has written numerous books, including Sue Mundy: A Novel of the Civil War; Girty; and Earth Bones.
WLS (Wendy Lee Spacek) earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University Bloomington. Her first book, Psychogynecology, was published by Monster House Press in 2015. Her work can be found at poets.org, deLuge Journal, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. She has received two Vera Meyer Strube Academy of American Poets Awards and the Katharine Bakeless Nason Scholarship to the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference
Rosechard Wehrenberg is the author of the chapbooks Abracadabrachrysanthemum (2018), Hands (2015), and River (2014), co-written with Ross Gay. Their poems & writing have appeared or are forthcoming in The Ocean State Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Monster House Press, Peach Mag, Bad Nudes, & elsewhere. They live in Bloomington, Indiana where they are a freelance book & graphic designer.
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As Heard on NPR's This American Life
“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.