Ross Gay


Ross Gay was born in Youngstown, Ohio. He earned a BA from Lafayette College, an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a PhD in English from Temple University. He is the author of Bee Holding (2020); Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (2015), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award and a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award; Bringing the Shovel Down (2011); and Against Which (2006). He has also published an essay collection, The Book of Delights (2019). Gay is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens (2014), and with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., River (2014). His honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Cave Canem, and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. He is an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press and is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’. He teaches at Indiana University and in Drew University’s low-residency MFA program. Source

Pulled Over in Short Hills, NJ, 8:00 AM

It’s the shivering. When rage grows

hot as an army of red ants and forces

the mind to quiet the body, the quakes

emerge, sometimes just the knees,

but, at worst, through the hips, chest, neck

until, like a virus, slipping inside the lungs

and pulse, every ounce of strength tapped

to squeeze words from my taut lips,

his eyes scanning my car’s insides, my eyes,

my license, and as I answer the questions

3, 4, 5 times, my jaw tight as a vice,

his hand massaging the gun butt, I

imagine things I don’t want to

and inside beg this to end

before the shiver catches my

hands, and he sees,

and something happens. 





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Poems of Place

Racial Injustice

Literary Devices:


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”