The delightful Ross Gay. Photo: Natasha Komoda
A few years ago, the award-winning poet and Indiana University writing professor Ross Gay gave himself an assignment. “I decided that it might feel nice, even useful, to write a daily essay about something delightful. I remember laughing at myself for how obvious it was. I could call it something like ‘The Book of Delights,’” he explained in the preface to his book by that very title.
That book came out in 2019. And then the pandemic hit and the whole world seemed delight deficient. And then a lot of people bought Gay’s book and told their friends about it. And now he’s just published a follow-up called — you guessed it — “The Book of (More) Delights” and has turned into a literary celebrity.
Just yesterday, in fact, Iowa Public Radio host Charity Nebbe interviewed him on “The Talk of Iowa.”
Of course, if you really want to double down on delights, including drinks and desserts, head to “The Event of Delights” 7-9 p.m. Saturday at Storyhouse Bookpub in the East Village, where you can pick up signed copies of Gay’s new book. After a bit, the party will drift around the corner to Raygun, where Gay will pop in for a virtual visit via Zoom and a few local writers will read their own short delightful essays. The lineup includes: Megan Bannister (an expert on a few of the “world’s largest” roadside attractions), William Bortz, Isaac Hamlet, Abbey Paxton, Abena Sankofa Imhotep, Katy Swalwell, F. Amanda Tugade and the novelist Denise Williams (who wrote a book called “I Hate You” and the sequel “I Still Hate You” in second grade but has apparently changed her tune).
You can buy tickets online for $8 and, maybe, live happily ever after after.