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University of Portland Clark Library

ReadUP 2024: Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude: The Book

Book Distribution

Starting November 20: If you reserved a copyit's time to pick up your book! Students living in residence halls can pick up the book from their hall director. For everyone else, books can be picked up at the Clark Library service desk during open hours.

eBook copies are also available for reading the book on your phone, tablet, or other device.

Author Talk

Monday, March 18, 2024
Schoenfeldt Distinguished Visiting Writers Series presents Ross Gay
7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Buckley Center Auditorium

The Book

A poet, educator, and community gardener, Ross Gay tends to joy as one would an orchard—from seedlings to harvest, through all seasons of growth. In his collection, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Gay demonstrates the practice of gratitude while never losing sight of the loss that animates it. 

~ from National Endowment for the Arts

Owned by Clark Library and available through Summit

"Gay's poems burst forth in leggy, unexpected ways, zooming in on legs furred with pollen or soil breast-stroking into the xylem. Gay's praise is Whitmanesque, full of manure, mulberry-stained purple bird poop, dirty clothes and hangovers, but also the pleasure of bare feet, of pruning a peach tree, of feeding a neighbor" (NPR). 

Book Discussions

Open to all UP faculty, staff and students. Each discussion will unpack a different theme from Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024
Facilitated by Fr. Pat Hannon, CSC, UP English Dept
12-1 p.m. | Library Conference Room, LB 222

Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Facilitated by Corey Pressman, UP School of Nursing & Health Innovations
12-1 p.m. | Library Conference Room, LB 222

Thursday, March 14, 2024 - Join online!
Facilitated by Joshua Swidzinski and Lars Larson, UP English Dept
7:30-8-30 p.m. | On Zoom,

Samples of the book

"Weeping" by Ross Gay written in the Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.

I'm thinking here of the proto-Indo-European root
which means the precise sound of a flower bud

unwrapping, and the tiny racket a seed makes
cracking open in the dark, which has evolved

in a handful of Latinate languages to mean the sound
of lovers exiting each other, implying as well the space

between them which usage is seen first in Dante 
in the fourteenth century, elbowing it for good into our mouths

and minds, and of course the sweet bead of sugar
imperceptibly moseying from the fig's tiny eye precisely

unlike sorrow which the assembly of insects sipping there
will tell you, when I tell you my niece, without fit or wail,

knowing her friend Emma had left and not said goodbye,
having spent the better part of the day resting on her finger, 

sometimes opening her wings, which were lustrous brown
with gold spots, to steady herself at the child-made

gale, or when she was tossed into the air while my niece
took her turn at pick-up sticks until calling Emma

by holding her finger in the air to which Emma would wobble down,
and Mikayla said Deal us in when we broke out the dominoes

at which they made a formidable duo, whispering to each other
instructions, and while the adults babbled our various dooms

Mikayla and Emma went into the bedroom where they sang
and danced and I think I heard Mikayla reading Emma

her favorite book, both of them slapping their thighs, leaning
into each other, and at bedtime Mikayla put on her PJs

carefully, first the left arm through while Emma teetered
on the right, then the other, and in the dark Mikayla whispered to Emma,

who had threaded her many legs into the band of Mikayla's sleeve,
while she drifted, watching Emma's wings slowly open

and close, and Emma must have flown away for good, judging
from the not brutal silence at breakfast, as Mikayla chewed

the waffle goofily with her one front tooth gone, and weakly smiled,
looking into the corners of the room for her friend, for Emma, 

who had left without saying goodbye, the tears easily
rolling from her eyes, when I say she was weeping, 

when I say she wept. 

-Ross Gay

Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts


An excerpt from the poem, "Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude" from the book, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.

Friends, will you bear with me today,
for I have awakened
from a dream in which a robin
made with its shabby wings a kind of veil
behind which it shimmied and stomped something from the south
of Spain, its breast aflare,
looking me dead in the eye
from the branch that grew into my window,
coochie-cooing my chin,
the bird shuffling its little talons left, then right,
while the leaves bristled
against the plaster wall, two of them drifting
onto my blanket while the bird
opened and closed its wings like a matador
giving up on murder,
jutting its beak, turning a circle,
and flashing, again,
the ruddy bombast of its breast 
by which I knew upon waking
it was telling me
in no uncertain terms
to bellow forth the tubas and sousaphones,
the whole rusty brass band of gratitude
not quite dormant in my belly—
it said so in a human voice,
“Bellow forth”—
and who among us could ignore such odd
and precise counsel?

- Ross Gay

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