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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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Favorite Poets of Color
Book Riot's 100 Must-Read Books of the American Midwest
100 books — 21 voters
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Wow. I kept thinking that this is what you'd get if Walt Whitman grew up in Philadelphia in the late 20th century. Such a great set of poems. Some are a little intense, but most are so beautifully worked. I will be buying some of this guy's books.
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
What I love to see is that the joy and exuberance that Gay exudes in his most recent work has been there from the beginning. The way he troubles the relationship between pain and violence and joy feels profound and complex. I also love to witness the tenor of the relationship between Gay and the poet Gerald Stern, who wrote the introduction to this volume and seems to be a kind of mentor to Gay. The tenderness and dialogue between these two men that is opened to the reader (there is also a poem ...more
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.
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.
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.
I don't know how to review poetry, except to say that I will take the word "rainbathed" with me forever, to link to a reading of "The Bullet, In Its Hunger," and to say that if you read this book, please, please read it out loud.
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.
Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. He is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook "Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens," in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, "River." He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sport ...moreMore about Ross Gay...