An Interview with Ross Gay


Kaveh Akbar’s interview with author Ross Gay is delightfully honest. Gay, who is an author of three books: Against WhichBringing the Shovel Down, and, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, invites us into his world by sharing backstories about some of his work.

I felt really happy to be done with Bringing the Shovel Down. I was very glad to have written it and very glad to have wrapped it up. There is an intense sort of brutality that sort of weaves through that book. It followed an arc, tracked a transformation through self-interrogation, into looking at one’s self and others with more loving, compassionate eyes. Some of those poems are brutal to read out loud. I often feel nauseous and beat after reading them.

With Catalog, Gay talks about how that book came from a joyous personal place. At the same time, that made him extra vulnerable against critics, especially academic:

Even when I came up with the title, I was laughing. I could imagine a table of very smart, very ironic people all dressed in black taking a piss on my book.

Down to its bright cover and everything, you know? And again, I fully understand that sort of sentiment, I get being like, “Oh, god, he’s exalting again.” It’s probably annoying when you’ve made a life on critique rather than joy or love. But I also read people reacting positively to these poems, and that is just something that I love to see. It’s something that I really love to see.

Read his full interview with Divedapper founder and editor, Kaveh Akbar, here.