Poet Ross Gay concludes Good Thunder Series

This past Thursday marked the final Good Thunder Reading event of the academic year, featuring poet Ross Gay. Minnesota State University Mankato hosts four different authors throughout the Good Thunder season, inviting them to share their work and their knowledge with students and the greater Mankato community. 

The workshop, craft talk and reading segments were each held over Zoom throughout the day. MFA student Antony Procopio Ross was featured alongside Gay during the reading portion of the event. 

The day began with a workshop session ran by Gay, where he encouraged attendees to think outside the box. Josh Drackley, MSU junior, attended the workshop with one of his creative writing classes. 

“He was really positive and enthusiastic. Writing in ways you don’t normally write is a great way to get your brain warmed up,” said Drackley. 

Thursday afternoon, Gay walked attendees through his writing process with a craft talk, followed by a Q&A. MSU senior Jose Felipe Ozuna, who participated in all three sections of the event. 

“I asked him a question about his obsession with long sentences in his poems, and he talked about how he tries to capture energy which was a big takeaway for me,” said Felipe Ozuna.

The final section took place in the evening. Procopio Ross read numerous poems from his thesis, titled “People We Only Know in Passing”, which he wrote based on his own experiences. 

“It takes inspiration from the communities I surround myself with– the people in those communities. Most of the poems in this collection deal with interactions I’ve had with people in my life. I’m trying to understand the types of intimacies that we allow ourselves in this life of ours, the depth of those intimacies,” said Procopio Ross. 

Procopio Ross will graduate from the MFA program here at MSU Mankato this May, with a focus on poetry. 

“It was a culmination of all of the efforts that I’ve had the pleasure of building to these past three years. It was cathartic, life-giving, and somewhat exciting to have the chance to read with Ross Gay and to read in front of my community which I hold near and dear,” Procopio Ross said. 

Gay then took the virtual stage to read from his collections of essays and poems. He read pieces from “Be Holding” and a few works that are yet to be published. Even over Zoom, Gay held a mighty presence with his captivating words and gestures. His readings felt almost like a conversation with his audience, and his written words translated to speech effortlessly. 

As the evening came to a close, Associate Professor Chris McCormick reiterated his thanks from the beginning of the session and encouraged participants to begin looking to future Good Thunder events. 

“As we look ahead to the next season, keep in touch, look at our website, and keep your eyes and ears peeled for that lineup. In the meantime, I’m just going to bask in my gratitude for this season,” said McCormick.

Header Photo: Poet Ross Gay concluded the Good Thunder Series on Thursday, April 7. Gay participated in a workshop, craft talk and live reading event over Zoom. Gay read excerpts from his latest poetry collection, “Be Holding.” (Courtesy Photo)

Write to: Alexandra Tostrud at alexandra.tostrud@mnsu.edu

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