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January 2011
80 pages  

6 x 8
9780822961352
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Bringing the Shovel Down
Gay, Ross
Bringing the Shovel Down is a re-imagination of the violent mythologies of state and power.

“These poems speak out of a global consciousness as well as an individual wisdom that is bright with pity, terror, and rage, and which asks the reader to realize that she is not alone—that the grief he carries is not just his own. Gay is a poet of conscience, who echoes Tomas Tranströmer's ‘We do not surrender. But want peace.’”
—Jean Valentine

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Ross Gay is the author of two previous collections, 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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Bringing the Shovel Down maps the long and arduous process of being inculcated with the mythologies of state and power, the ramifications of that inculcation (largely, the loss of our humanity in the service of maintaining those mythologies), and finally, what it might mean, what it might provide us, if we were to transform those myths. The book, finally, has one underlying question: How might we better love one another?
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“These poems speak out of a global consciousness as well as an individual wisdom that is bright with pity, terror, and rage, and which asks the reader to realize that she is not alone—that the grief he carries is not just his own. Gay is a poet of conscience, who echoes Tomas Tranströmer's ‘We do not surrender. But want peace.’”—Jean Valentine

“Ross Gay is some kind of brilliant latter-day troubadour whose poetry is shaped not only by yearning but also play and scrutiny, melancholy and intensity. I might be shocked by the bold, persistent love throughout Bringing the Shovel Down if I wasn’t so wooed and transformed by it.”—Terrance Hayes

“With masterful rhythms and multiple tones, Ross Gay gets down to bare-bones difficulty: love often tinged with grief, violence, and deception. He moves from macrocosm to microcosm, probing injustice’s absurdities as well as a pining self that can’t be pinned down. As with his ‘little dreamer, little hard hat, little heartbeat,’ Gay’s poems are vitalized by the poet’s ache for compassion and truth.”—Ira Sadoff

“Blending classic craft with contemporary subject matter, poet Ross Gay’s new collection packs a wallop in its urgency to communication the joys and sorows of life.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Artfully honest. Gay’s poems are ‘small lanterns’ of ‘lighting’ and more.“—Philadelphia Inquirer

“With language wholly his own, sparkling clean and tender, Bringing the Shovel Down exposes a dark marriage of love and violence from which one cannot turn away.” —ForeWord Magazine

“Gay . . . can score a direct hit when he wants to. In Bringing the Shovel Down,he employs a variety of voices. The most effective of these . . . is the voice in which Gay shears off the ‘poetic’ trappings and just lets his launguage ‘stutter and thrum,” and he puts it in a poem called ‘Say It.’ Yes, you think: say it. He’s at his best when he comes right out with it.”—New York Times

“The language Gay brings to his poems is fresh and inviting. . . . One of the most satisfying new books I have read in a long time.”—West Branch

“Gay’s language and imagery are exquisite.”—Synecdoche


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