Bringing the Shovel Down

Bringing the Shovel Down

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Author: Ross Gay

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press (2011)

Bringing the Shovel Down maps the long and arduous process of being inculcated with the mythologies of state and power, the ramifications of that inculcation (largely, the loss of our humanity in the service of maintaining those mythologies), and finally, what it might mean, what it might provide us, if we were to transform those myths. The book, finally, has one underlying question: How might we better love one another?

"Ross Gay is some kind of brilliant latter-day troubadour whose poetry is shaped not only by yearning but also play and scrutiny, melancholy and intensity. I might be shocked by the bold, persistent love throughout Bringing the Shovel Down if I wasn't so wooed and transformed by it."

–Terrance Hayes

"With masterful rhythms and multiple tones, Ross Gay gets down to bare-bones difficulty: love often tinged with grief, violence, and deception. He moves from macrocosm to microcosm, probing injustice's absurdities as well as a pining self that can't be pinned down. As with his 'little dreamer, little hard hat, little heartbeat,' Gay's poems are vitalized by the poet's ache for compassion and truth."

–Ira Sadoff

"Gay . . . can score a direct hit when he wants to. In Bringing the Shovel Down,he employs a variety of voices. The most effective of these . . . is the voice in which Gay shears off the 'poetic' trappings and just lets his language 'stutter and thrum," and he puts it in a poem called 'Say It.' Yes, you think: say it. He's at his best when he comes right out with it."

–New York Times