Photo of Ross Gay and book cover of Inciting Joy

Ross Gay: Inciting Joy (In-Person)

Join us for an evening with Ross GayNew York Times bestselling author of The Book of Delights, as he reads from and discusses his new book Inciting Joy, an intimate and electrifying essay collection. In these gorgeously written and timely pieces, Gay considers the joy we incite when we care for each other, especially during life’s inevitable hardships. Throughout Inciting Joy, he explores how we can practice recognizing that connection, and also, crucially, how we expand it.

Exhibit logo for Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on JusticeThis is an in-person program at the American Writers Museum. This program will also be livestreamed, and you can register for the link to the online broadcast hereTickets for this program can be used at a later date for general admission to the Museum.

This program is presented in conjunction with our special exhibit Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice. Explore the exhibit at the American Writers Museum beginning September 22, 2022.

More about Inciting Joy:

Inciting Joy book cover by Ross GayIn Inciting Joy, which Ada Limón calls “brilliant,” Gay once again proves a luminous observer of our shared humanity. From gardeners offering their abundance to the conviviality of pickup basketball games, from public displays of skateboarding to private heartaches, such as caring for his dying father, Gay investigates how joy and sorrow are inextricably linked.

“My hunch is that joy, emerging from our common sorrow—which does not necessarily mean we have the same sorrows, but that we, in common, sorrow—might draw us together,” Gay ponders. “It might depolarize us and de-atomize us enough that we can consider what, in common, we love. And though attending to what we hate in common is too often all the rage (and it happens also to be very big business), noticing what we love in common, and studying that, might help us survive.”

Looking clear-eyed at the injustice, political polarization, and destruction of the natural world, Gay shows us how we might resist, how the possibility of joy is available to us if we seek the things in our lives that prepare the ground for that joy. Then, moving beyond what incites joy, he explores what joy incites, suggesting perhaps a wild, unpredictable, transgressive and unboundaried solidarity among us.

ROSS GAY is the author of four books of poetry: Against WhichBringing the Shovel DownBe Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller. His new collection of essays, Inciting Joy, will be released by Algonquin in October of 2022.

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Nov 01 2022


Central Time
6:30 pm

More Info



American Writers Museum
Chicago, Illinois

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