Ross Gay's first book of poetry since the publication of his award winning collection CATALOG OF UNABASHED GRATITUDE, winner of the National Book Critic's Circle Award, The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the National Book Award. This collection, BE HOLDING, is a book length poem, celebrating Dr. J, Julius Erving, one of the most influential basketball players of the 20th century.
Be Holding is a love song to legendary basketball player Julius Erving—known as Dr. J—who dominated courts in the 1970s and ‘80s as a small forward for the Philadelphia ‘76ers. But this book-length poem is more than just an ode to a magnificent athlete. Through a kind of lyric research, or lyric meditation, Ross Gay connects Dr. J’s famously impossible move from the 1980 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers to pick-up basketball and the flying Igbo and the Middle Passage, to photography and surveillance and state violence, to music and personal histories of flight and familial love.
Be Holding wonders how the imagination, or how our looking, might make us, or bring us, closer to each other. How our looking might make us reach for each other. And might make us be reaching for each other. And how that reaching might be something like joy.