95th out of 240 books — 63 voters
by Ross Gay
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...more
Paperback, 71 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by CavanKerry Press
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I bought this book after hearing Gay read at Asheville Wordfest. I liked his way. Liked the new poems (Syndromes) he was reading. With the book, I was more impressed.... and then also a bit more wary. There are really drop-dead gorgeous poems in here. And Gay is wrestling with some of the big stuff: dead parents, cruelties of childhood,the hard lives of rural working class folks. It’s good poetry. “Against Which” is wonderful. A poem that plays with plot and language and sings. “The Bullet, in I...more
There is a lot I'm impressed with in this book. A LOT! All the poems have so much life and fresh energy. But what I am fascinated with is Gay's facility with violence and the potentially exaggerated scene. It's amazing to me that he could have a poem like "Broken Mania" that still maintains a credible stance for what seems to me incredible.
I read this in my girlfriend's car on a long drive to Lancaster to visit our departing friends-- or to visit some friends in a new apartment-- either way, somebody leaving or arriving. This book was recommended to me by the sublime Nzadi Keita way back in 2008, and it's a disgrace that I took two years to heed her advice.
In "Against Which" Ross Gay manages to be sparse and musical and honey-thick and world-bitter and hopeful all at the same time. One is not the same after reading a single poem; reading the collection shows why American poetry is exploding in a thousand directions, all of them good.
definitely one of the best books of poetry i've ever read. this guy is absolutely incredible. never sappy, he has whittled everything down to the essentials. what remains is the spine of life without pretensions, posturing or sap. he is a practically perfect poet.
This was an amazing book to travel with. I found myself re-reading poem after poem, wanting to turn and exchange it with the person next to me. There is something about Ross' experiences that make you homesick for the connections you could make.