Ross Gay

It was announced yesterday that Ross Gay won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. I'm reluctant to say that these kinds of announcements usually make me a little envious; but that was not the case with Ross. When I read the news, I was nothing but thrilled. I've had the great fortune to work with, and be neighbors with this guy: he is all good. He recently read at the Fey House in Radcliffe Yard. He spent the night explaining himself; I wish I could have been there. Ross is the kind of guy who can change your life for the better, just with his smile. He's so goddamn cool. I ran into him on a hot-as-hell summer day in Brooklyn a couple years ago. I thought he was a mirage. In my mind, Ross was in Bloomington: how could he be on my street in Clinton Hill? That day made my week, maybe my month. But he's also a very, very serious poet. (And a silly poet). The kind of poet who is reinventing how we talk to each other, and treat each other. Ross Gay makes everyone he encounters want to be better at what ever it is they do. I think this is because he's always on a quest to learn and be better himself. He's always asking questions. He's always practicing his jump-shot. I can only imagine that everyone who knows him feels like they won yesterday. Honoring Ross is making us better.