Bee at sunflower

The Noticing Muscle

Soundscapes Episode 9
Curated by Miranda Perrone

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Podcast

In our ninth episode of Soundscapes, we present The Noticing Muscle:


In this episode, we listen in on a conversation between poet and essayist Ross Gay and poetry editor Derek Sheffield. As Ross Gay’s biography points out: “Ross Gay is interested in joy. Ross Gay wants to understand joy. Ross Gay is curious about joy.” Ross gay, it turns out, is curious and interested in just about everything, but humble about his ability to understand it. In fact, he’s in love with not knowing, which allows for change and, yes, “flabbergastment.” Along with living the questions and inciting joy, though, Ross Gay centers what he calls, “the noticing muscle.” This muscle, when strengthened, “inclines us to care for each other in systems of distrust and brutalization.” Listen to Ross Gay and Derek Sheffield take a deep dive into the workings of poetry (“the longer I study it, the more I realize I don’t know how I’m doing this”), what it’s like to witness a bee orgy (“I don’t know shit”), and why you should consider turning toward your death (“to not consider our dying and our living the same thing is in impediment to joy”). 

Additional poetry in this episode: 

About Ross Gay
The most recent book by Ross Gay is The Book of (More) Delights (Algonquin Books, 2023), the collection that occasioned this interview. His first Book of Delights was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller. He is also the author of another book of essays, Inciting Joy (Algonquin Books, 2022), and 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. Read the full interview with Derek Sheffield.

Soundscapes is a podcast curated by Miranda Perrone. In keeping with our mission, Soundscapes takes an aural approach to the search for the interface—the integration—among the built and natural environments. Thinking of this liminal zone as the soul of place, Soundscapes seeks to bring you deeper into the souls of our contributors and others passionate about place with the hope of strengthening our communities in all their multifaceted forms.


Miranda PerroneMiranda Perrone is a writer, philosopher, map-maker, and outdoor educator with an MS in Environmental Science and Policy and a BA in Philosophy. Issues related to climate change, animal rights, and the preservation of wild places are of particular interest to Miranda, whose varied work seeks to connect and inspire in service of socioecological change.

Header photo by Ralph, courtesy Pixabay is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.