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Type of Event

Event Calendar

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thu, Aug 27, 2020

Ross Gay outside, surrounded by flowering plants and wearing a black shirt that says "'poetry is not a luxury' - Audre Lorde"

2020 DeMott Lecture by Ross Gay

8:00 pm Virtual

The annual DeMott Lecture, a welcome address for incoming students, will be given virtually by author Ross Gay.

He is the author the poetry books Against Which, Bringing the Shovel Down and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His new book-length poem, Be Holding, will be released from the University of Pittsburgh Press in September of 2020. His collection of essays,The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019.

Gay is also the co-author with Aimee Nezhukumatathil of the chapbook Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens, and co-author with Rosechard Wehrenberg of the chapbook River. He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.

Gay is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a nonprofit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He also works on The Tenderness Project with Shayla Lawson and Essence London. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference and the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches at Indiana University.

The DeMott Lecture was established in 2005 by Alan P. Levenstein ’56 in honor of Benjamin DeMott, a legendary and much-loved member of the Amherst English faculty from 1951 until his retirement in 1990. The DeMott Lecture seeks to expose incoming students to an engagement with the world marked by originality of thought coupled with direct social action, and to inspire intellectual participation in issues of social and economic inequality, racial and gender bias and political activism.

Additional information about Professor Benjamin DeMott and previous DeMott Lectures, including last year’s talk by Min Jin Lee, is available via the button below.

Ongoing Events

Aerial view of Johnson Chapel and the surrounding Amherst College campus

Poetry in the Pandemic

In the time of uncertainty and anxiety, poetry brings us hope, inspiration and reflection. Have you been reading or writing poems in the pandemic? Do you want to share the lines you've read or written with the Amherst community? Please fill out the form: https://forms.gle/AqT9ofE76gL9edCp6 or email your response to Haoran Tong '23 at htong23@amherst.edu.

We welcome all students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents of Amherst College to participate! Help us lead a poetic life to overcome the difficult circumstances. We plan to compile all submissions into an anthology titled "Amherst Poetry in the Pandemic."