Over the last 12 years, Ross Gay’s poems have given us indelible images and phrases of radical empathy and unabated gratitude; about community, collaboration, connectedness and hard work. They have crept into our hearts and made a home of all of us. And so we are launching our 25th Anniversary celebration with ‘Dilate Your Heart’, our first spoken word album since titan Robert Creeley’s self-titled release twenty years ago.“Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude” is given a gorgeous, slowly creeping bed of vines by Bon Iver, as Gay’s unadorned voices speaks a lifetimes of ThankYou’s. On “Burial,” harpist and composer Mary Lattimore’s
lunar landscape follows Gay’s voice into space, telling of our endless energy exchange with nature. Chicago’s Angel Bat Dawid dances with the frenetic, joyous scene Gay leads us through on “To the Fig Tree on 9th and Christian,” in which a group of Philadelphia strangers scramble together to harvest the fruit of the titular urban fig tree. Songwriter Gia Margaret provides a mystical, amniotic environment for Gay’s “Poem To My Child If Ever You Shall Be,” a love letter to an imagined future child, treating Gay’s voice like a message in a bottle to a far off idea made only of love and potential. Sam Gendel, a secret weapon collaborator, affects Gay’s voice on “Sorrow Is Not My Name” to something glassy and almost singsongy. Throughout, Gay recites his poems with bright aliveness, his voice as warm and easy when he speaks about death as when he speaks about mercy, or love.
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