Holy shit. Holy shit! Ross Gay is so so so good. I was introduced to Bringing the Shovel Down by a friend whose writing I adore and from the beginning this book gripped me. The language in this book is so tight and each line break offers a new surprise, which is an incredibly hard feat for a writer. This is an excerpt from my favorite poem in the collection:
“Honeybunny, for you, I’ve got a mouthful
of soot. Sweetpea, for you, I always smell
like blood. Everything that touches me, Lovemuffin,
turns to salt.”
– from Love, You Got Me Good .
Like Jan’s book, this is a book that took me a long time to read, but it was because I wanted to savor every poem. I felt like I was running out of words as I was reading, like they all were being pulled from my stomach and laid out before me. Ross Gay writes with such an easy brutality, it felt like I was constantly being slain. There are so many voices in this book, each one as gorgeous as the next.