Reviews in 200 Words

Bringing the Shovel Down by Ross Gay

In Poetry on April 1, 2011 at 3:42 pm

These poems are so careful. They are the experience of life, yes, but more than that, they are what we learn when we really live. When we stop seeing each day as the same. People are affected, and afflicted. We need to be touched and moved in order to be alive. We need to feel rain and understand darkness. This poet is clearly in love with people. In love with feeling and aching and sound. How in the world are so many people going around not living? Numb and vacant. We need to notice more things–be honestly obsessed–with crickets and cattails and tears. Gay has thought these things through; he’s got the ability to tickle pain. Love, you helped design the brick / that built the walls around the castle / in the basement of which is a vault / inside of which is another vault / inside of which…you get my point. Go ahead and let these poems school you–let them correct you and put you in your place: they’re where you need to be.

-Micah Ling



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