Right now I’m rereading Ross Gay’s
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
(2015). I was really looking forward to hearing him read as part of the Open Book Series of visiting writers at USC this spring, and talking with the students in my poetry class about his work. But the virus cancelled the reading, as it has so many other things. He was to be here April 1, last night. So I picked up the book to read it again this week, a book about spring and generosity, about compost and community gardens and taking care of one another and, of course, gratitude. There’s so much to love in this book—his father’s ashes planted with a new plum tree, a cluster of strangers beneath a fig tree, “gleefully eating out of each other’s hands.” I spent the weekend gardening with my husband, planting tomatoes and peppers and sunflowers, trading flowers with a neighbor (at safe social distance), and learning that a friend had just died, the first person I know now taken by the virus. I read and reread Gay’s rambling title poem with its lists of so many things he’s thankful for, and that last stanza leaves me breathless and crying and grateful this week of all weeks. This is a book I need right now.