Bringing the Shovel Down is a re-imagination of the violent mythologies of state and power.
“These poems speak out of a global consciousness as well as an individual wisdom that is bright with pity, terror, and rage, and which asks the reader to realize that she is not alone--that the grief he carries is not just his own. Gay is a poet of conscience, who echoes Tomas Transtromer's 'We do not surrender. But want peace.'”
“Ross Gay is some kind of brilliant latter-day troubadour whose poetry is shaped not only by yearning but also play and scrutiny, melancholy and intensity. I might be shocked by the bold, persistent love throughout Bringing the Shovel Down if I wasn’t so wooed and transformed by it.”