2015 National Book Award Finalist, Poetry

Ross Gay

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
(University of Pittsburgh Press)
ISBN: 978-0822963318

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude Ross Gay


In Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, the intricate delights and difficulties of our lives as well as the nitty-gritty majesty of the natural world are generously scrutinized. With the sumptuous clarity of a good quartet, Gay has composed a lyrical map of the mind’s ongoing scuffle with the heart. There’s humor here and tough-minded insight, along with an unflinching engagement with those wounds that won’t be healed—all of this beneath a rich vocal canopy whose central quality is tenderness.

National Book Foundation: In the process of writing your book, what did you discover, what, if anything, surprised you?
Gay: I was surprised again and again in the writing of this book--poem by poem I was surprised with all these strange and weird arrivals, these little events or moments that I never ever would have predicted. That's part of the delight, for me, of writing poems. But I might have been most surprised, ultimately, with what became the title poem, because it arrived as a title--I was sitting on some grass after having done a kettlebell workout, and I just knew, the way time to time I guess we just know, that my book was going to be called Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. And then I wrote that poem, "Catalog" (over the next several months), which is maybe something I've never done before. That surprised me and still kind of surprises me.


Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude is a sustained meditation on that which goes away-- loved ones, the seasons, the earth as we know it -- that tries to find solace in the processes of the garden and the orchard.

About the Author

Ross Gay is the author of three poetry collections: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude; Against Which; and Bringing the Shovel Down. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Orion, the Sun, and elsewhere.  He is an associate professor of poetry at Indiana University and teaches in Drew University’s low-residency MFA program in poetry. He also serves on the board of the Bloomington Community Orchard.


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