Streamed on City of Asylum’s Virtual Channel. (run -time 75 min) Tune in for the Pittsburgh launch reading, discussion, and audience q+a of BE HOLDING with Ross Gay in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Be Holding, the latest from award-winning poet Ross Gay, is a love song to legendary basketball player Julius Erving—known as Dr. J—who dominated courts in the 1970s and ‘80s as a small forward for the Philadelphia ‘76ers, as well as over his career in both the NBA and ABA.
But this book-length poem is more than just an ode to a magnificent athlete. Through a kind of lyric research, or lyric meditation, Ross Gay connects Dr. J’s famously impossible move from the 1980 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers to pick-up basketball and the flying Igbo and the Middle Passage, to photography and surveillance and state violence, to music and personal histories of flight and familial love. Be Holding wonders how the imagination, or how our looking, might make us, or bring us, closer to each other. How our looking might make us reach for each other. And might make us be reaching for each other. And how that reaching might be something like joy.
Ross Gay teaches poetry at Indiana University and is the author of the poetry collections Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down, Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens (with Aimee Nezhukumatathil), River (with Rose Wehrenberg), Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, and most recently, the essay collection The Book of Delights.
Be Holding, a poem by Ross Gay, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press/Pitt Poetry Series. On sale Sept. 8, 2020.
Free, but registration is required.