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On Sundays, We Read Poetry

Each Sunday, I post a brief introduction to a collection of poetry I've been loving. I include one poem that I think really sings. No review. No need. If it's here, you'll know I recommend it. If you have one to recommend (yours or someone else's), send it along. I'll do my best to be here every Sunday.


Some words Ross Gay has no problem using in his poetry: grody, armpit, knuckleheaded, fuck, hot wings, chickenshit, horseshit, shit. Other words Ross Gay has no problem using in his poetry: xylem, supine, luminous, human, frail. What Ross Gay fills his poems with: love and light and wonder and joy -- even in pain, even in grief.

Who else could do this with the ordinary act of buttoning a shirt? The whole poem ("ode to buttoning and unbuttoning my shirt") is a bit long for here, but here's how it concludes:

two maybe three

times a day

some days

I have the distinct pleasure

of slowly untethering

the one side

from the other

which is like unbuckling

a stack of vertebrae

with delicacy

for I must only use

the tips

of my fingers

with which I will

one day close

my mother's eyes

this is as delicate

as we can be

in this life


like this

giving the raft of our hands

to the clumsy spider

and blowing soft until she

lifts her damp heft and

crawls off

we practice like this

pushing the seed into the earth

like this first

in the morning

then at night

we practice

sliding the bones home.

Want more? Go get a copy of Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, or click to hear the poet reading his own work. Or here to see more about his latest The Book of Delights.


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