Unbound Book Festival names Ross Gay, Patrick Rosal 2023 keynotes

Poet and essayist Ross Gay
Poet and essayist Ross Gay

An inspired pairing of well-regarded poets will share the keynote event at next spring's Unbound Book Festival.

Ross Gay and Patrick Rosal will take the stage when Unbound opens its 2023 edition on April 21, the festival announced via social media Thursday evening.

"They are two of the most acclaimed and exciting poets of their generation. They are also best friends," the festival's post stated. "... This will be an Unbound keynote like no other. Ross and Pat will bring their extraordinary talents to the stage of the Missouri Theatre for an evening of joy, delight, poetry, music, wisdom, and friendship (and maybe some basketball.)"

Gay and Rosal join august company. Previous Unbound keynotes include Zadie Smith, George Saunders, Jericho Brown, Viet Thanh Nguyen and Salman Rushdie.

Gay's latest book, "Inciting Joy," is a collection of essays, a deeply humane and musical piece of writing that sifts Gay's family history and cultural fascinations while reaching beyond his life to the reader.

"... As Gay reminds us in this collection, the antidote to our sorrows is a muscle we can strengthen, sway and wield, a way to restore our spirits, and our communities, and perhaps, the world," Mandana Chaffa wrote in the Chicago Review of Books.

Gay's other books include "The Book of Delights," a New York Times bestselling set of essays, and poetry texts such as "Be Holding" and "Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude."

A veteran of the first Unbound festival in 2016, Rosal has penned five poetry collections. He currently teaches at Rutgers University-Camden in New Jersey, where he also guides Occasions for Gathering and Quilting Water, "a five-year public art project collecting interviews about water from around the world," according to his website.

Poet and professor Patrick Rosal
Poet and professor Patrick Rosal

"Rosal’s poetry holds very specific brutalities to light — imperialism, natural calamity, state violence, personal heartbreak. Rather than simply unreeling a litany of suffering, the poems map a way for the imagination to survive, honor, and love," the Guggenheim Foundation noted in describing the 2017 fellow.

Unbound events, including the keynote, are free. Ticket reservations for Gay and Rosal's appearance will be available early next year, the festival said. And the Unbound lineup will fill out progressively in the intervening months.

For more information on all things Unbound, visit https://www.unboundbookfestival.com/.

Aarik Danielsen is the features and culture editor for the Tribune. Contact him at adanielsen@columbiatribune.com or by calling 573-815-1731. Find him on Twitter @aarikdanielsen.

This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Ross Gay, Patrick Rosal to headline Unbound festival in 2023