The Big Read Miami 2023

Miami Book Fair celebrates the twinning of loss and abundance as an opportunity for tenderness and joy with Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, a poetry collection by poet, educator, and community gardener Ross Gay.

March 1 – April 30

This spring, Miami Book Fair encourages all South Floridians to read Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, the critically acclaimed poetry collection by Ross Gay.

A poet, educator, and community gardener, Ross Gay tends to joy as one would an orchard—from seedlings to harvest, through all seasons of growth. In his collection, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Gay demonstrates the practice of gratitude while never losing sight of the loss that animates it. Through 24 lyric poems, Ross Gay’s Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude offers a luminous exploration of death, life, and their many tides. Animated by what Gay has called the “discipline of gratitude,” the collection considers sorrow’s potential, grounded in the rhythms and abundance of the natural world: the compost that gives way to rich soil, the decay that reveals seeds, the branches that must be trimmed to make room for new growth. 

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Though suffering and sorrow wend their way through each poem, adopting various guises, they are met everywhere by a commitment to this cycle of transformation. Gay sees the twinning of loss and abundance as an astonishing opportunity for tenderness and joy, and the poems in Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude are intimate, conversational. Throughout the collection, Gay addresses his readers directly, as an old friend might, and invites them to observe the gentle, loving labor of bees; to taste sweet fruit-flesh; to smell sweet potato biscuits frying in coconut oil; to stay awhile and sip honeyed tea; to leave, warm and fed, when they are ready to go; to know they will be missed.

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller. His new collection of essays, Inciting Joy, was released by Algonquin in October of 2022.

2023 Big Read Miami programs take place either in-person or online. Please check event details for more info. 

Download2023 Big Read Additional Resources PDF

Miami Book Fair invites you to practice what Ross Gay has called “the discipline of gratitude.” What or whom are you grateful for? Observe the abundance that exists around us—the gentle, loving labor of bees; the sound of your best friend’s laughter, waft of sweet potato biscuits frying in coconut oil; that first sip of honeyed tea—and then really take note.

Write a short note of gratitude for someone or something. This can take any brief form, such as a short poem, flash fiction, micro-essay, even a single sentence. If you’d like, snap a photo or doodle of the object of your gratitude to include with your submission. Gratitude notes will be collected at all in-person Big Read Miami events or can be submitted online at the link below. Select Notes will be published in a limited edition zine.

Show Your Gratitude

Event Highlights

What is the NEA Big Read?

A program of the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Managed by Arts Midwest, this initiative offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book.

For more information about the NEA Big Read, visit

For information about the NEA, visit

For information about Arts Midwest, visit