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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Earth Poetry

Air Date: Week of April 23, 2010

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It’s also National Poetry Month. To celebrate Ross Gay reads his poem “Thank you”.

Transcript

YOUNG: April marks not only Earth Day, but also a celebration of poetry, with National Poetry Month. Here’s Ross Gay.

GAY: This is a poem called Thank you. And I wrote this poem actually in the midst of my father’s struggle with liver cancer. And it sort of came to me while I was dealing with that, and while he was dealing with that. It’s called “Thank You”.

If you find yourself half naked and barefoot in the frosty grass, hearing again the earth’s great sonorous moan that says you are the air of the now and gone, that says all you love will turn to dust and will meet you there. Do not raise your fist, do not raise your small voice against it, and do not take cover. Instead curl your toes into the grass, watch the cloud ascending from your lips, walk through the garden’s dormant splendor. Say only, thank you. Thank you.

[Darcy James Argue “Redeye” from Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records 2009)]

YOUNG: As well as writing poetry, Ross Gay teaches creative writing at Indiana University at Bloomington. We found his poem “Thank You,” in the anthology “Black Nature, Four Centuries of African Nature Poetry” edited by Camille Dungy.

 

Links

Ross Gay’s poem can be found in the book “Black Nature.”

Click here for more on Ross Gay

 

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