Inciting Joy

Joy connects us in ways that can incite lasting solidarity across divisions. Through this lens, critically acclaimed bestselling author Ross Gay locates joy as a vital element on the long road to making a better world in his 2022 book of essays, Inciting Joy. In a very special MCF Book Club conversation, Dr. Carmen Rojas, president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation, sits down in person with author Ross Gay to explore how gardens can become laboratories of mutual aid and how joy can act as a North Star on our journey toward collective liberation.

APRIL 30, 2024
12 PM PT | 2 PM CT | PT 3 PM ET

This event is part of our MCF Book Club: Reading for a Liberated Future series. The MCF Book Club shares the ideas of leaders who encourage us to imagine how we can radically transform our democracy, economy, and society.

Inciting Joy: Essays

In these gorgeously written and timely pieces, prizewinning poet and author Gay considers the joy we incite when we care for each other, especially during life's inevitable hardships. Throughout Inciting Joy, he explores how we can practice recognizing that connection and also, crucially, how we can expand it.
In an era when divisive voices take up so much airspace, Inciting Joy offers a vital alternative: What might be possible if we turn our attention to what brings us together, to what we love?
Taking a clear-eyed look at injustice, political polarization, and the destruction of the natural world, Gay shows us how we might resist, how the study of joy might lead us to a wild, unpredictable, transgressive, and unboundaried solidarity. In fact, it just might help us survive.

Featured Participants

Dr. Carmen Rojas

Dr. Carmen Rojas is the president and CEO of Marguerite Casey Foundation. Under her leadership, the foundation launched the prestigious Freedom Scholar award to ensure diverse managers oversee a majority of MCF’s endowment. Since its inception in 2020, the Freedom Scholar award has granted more than $142M in funding to dozens of organizations doing the hard work of shifting power to people who have long been excluded from having it. Prior to MCF, Dr. Rojas was the cofounder and CEO of the Workers Lab, an innovation lab that partners with workers to develop new ideas that help them succeed and flourish.

Ross Gay

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN America 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. In addition to his poetry, Ross has released three collections of essays: The Book of Delights was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller; Inciting Joy was released in 2022; and his newest collection, The Book of (More) Delights, was released in September of 2023.