Talking Volumes: Ross Gay on 'Inciting Joy'

Poet Ross Gay talks with Kerri Miller for the finale of Talking Volume on Nov. 2 about how we can tap the hidden stream of joy that connects us all.

Poet Ross Gay believes in joy. But he pays careful attention to how one defines that word.

It is not simply happiness or delight, he says in his new book “Inciting Joy.” Rather, it is what grows from the fertile soil of breaking and belonging. It is the light that emanates from us when we help each other carry our sorrows.

In his book, Gay writes, “What if joy is not only entangled with pain, or suffering, or sorrow, but is also what emerges from how we care for each other through those things?'“

Gay was in St. Paul in early November to talk with MPR News host Kerri Miller for the finale of the 2022 Talking Volumes season. The evening also featured music from Minneapolis artist MAYYADDA.

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NOTE: The audio and video above contain explicit language.

To listen to a lightly edited version of the Talking Volumes conversation, use the audio player above. You can also watch the full event via the embedded video, or look for it on YouTube.

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