There is a question floating around the world right now: “How can we be joyful in a moment like this?” To which writer Ross Gay responds: “How can we not be joyful, especially in a moment like this?” He says joy has nothing to do with ease and “everything to do with the fact that we’re all going to die.” The ephemeral nature of our being allows him to find delight in all sorts of places (especially his community garden). To be with Ross Gay is to train your gaze to see the wonderful alongside the terrible, to attend to and meditate on what you love, even in the work of justice.
Ross Gay is a writer and a professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington. His books include the poetry collection “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude,” winner of the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and a book of essays, “The Book of Delights.” He is a board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard and a co-founder of The Tenderness Project.
This interview is edited and produced with music and other features in the On Being episode "Ross Gay — Tending Joy and Practicing Delight." Find more at onbeing.org.