The Rock Island and Moline Public Libraries present “Inciting Joy: A Conversation with Ross Gay" -- January 11.

Wednesday, January 11, 7 p.m.

Presented by the Rock Island and Moline Public Libraries

With the Washington Post calling his latest book “a gift that's meant to be shared” and Publishers Weekly insisting "this resonant, vivid meditation shouldn’t be missed," a bestselling essaying and award-winning poet takes center stage in Inciting Joy: A Conversation with Ross Gay, a virtual January 11 conversation with the Inciting Joy author made possible by Illinois Libraries Present, and hosted by the Rock Island and Moline Public Libraries.

Recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his 2014 book Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, a work that was also a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry, Gay was born in Youngstown, Ohio, in 1974, but he grew up in Levittown, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. from Lafayette College, his MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and his Ph.D. in American Literature from Temple University, and was a founding editor, alongside Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call It Ballin'. Gay is also an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press, as well as a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. Over the course of his career, Gay has taught poetry, art, and literature at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, and Montclair State University in New Jersey, and now teaches at Indiana University in and for the low-residency MFA in Poetry program at Drew University.

Gay's poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Columbia: A Journal of Poetry, Art, Margie, The American Journal of Poetry; and Atlanta Review, and his poetry and essays have also appeared in anthologies including The Paris Review and 2009's From the Fishouse. His honors include being a Cave Canem Workshop fellow and a Bread Loaf Writers Conference Tuition Scholar, and Gay received a grant from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller, and among his four poetry collections are Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, and Be Holding, the latter the winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award. Meanwhile, with the book's 2022 publication, Inciting Joy has earned its author some of the strongest reviews of his career, with Publishers Weekly calling the work "a stunning collection [about] how joy deepens when accompanied by grief, fear, and loss," adding that Gay's "precise yet playful prose sparkles."

For his Illinois Libraries Present event, Gay will be joined in conversation by three-time Chicago Poetry Slam champion Dan “Sully” Sullivan. His poems and performances have been featured on HBO Def Poetry Jam, WGN Morning News, and National Public Radio, and Sully’s first full-length book of poems, The Blue Line Home, is available from EM-Press.

Inciting Joy: A Conversation with Ross Gay will take place at 7 p.m. on January 11, participation in the virtual event is free, and more information is available by calling (309)732-7323 and visiting, and calling (309)524-2470 and visiting

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