As a writer, Pamela Diane Gay’s career spans poetry and fiction but also includes nationally recognized ballet criticism and academic prose. Following a childhood in France, she attended William Packard’s Master Poets Workshop at NYU and was accepted at the Breadloaf Writers Conference where she studied under Maxine Kumin. She gave her first public poetry reading in Toronto, Canada, followed by readings of her poetry in San Francisco and Montgomery, Alabama.
In San Francisco, in the 80s she wrote reviews, interviews, and essays on classical ballet in tandem with poetry. Her interviews with Marcel Marceau, Kyra Nijinsky, and Maurice Bejart, on whose life Bejart and Modernism: Case Studies on the Archetype of Dance (2006) was published have appeared internationally and are housed in the Jerome Robbins Collection of the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts.
In 2000, she moved to Alabama and had given readings at Alabama State University and was a featured poet in 2017 at the Four Mondays of Poetry series, sponsored by Auburn University, Montgomery as part of National Poetry Week. She continues to write poetry and fiction and is both author and illustrator for a collection of poems, “A Child Travels Round the World.” Currently, she is at work on a novel entitled The Dancer’s Daughter. She is a member of the Montgomery-based Press and Authors.
The Dictionary Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography (Essay)
Dr. Gay co-authored the essay, Joseph de Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges with Tom Reiss, 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography. The essay in the four volume series has as subject a mulatto violinist from the Caribbean
“The Performance of Colonialism: The Theater of the Haitian Revolution” in Essays: Exploring the Global Caribbean, Susan Roberson, Editor
This essay analyzes the performance of the Intermede, Le Devin du village by Jean-Jacques Rousseau both before and immediately following the Haitian Revolution, and key themes that emerge in its libretto, including the politicization of country life – as evidenced on the plantation – in a secluded milieu far from the metropolis of Paris. Theatrical performances featured Parisian performers and were performed throughout the Gulf Basin. (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013).
Opera Libretti of the 18th Century: Essays on the Libretto as Enlightenment Text
An analysis of social issues that emerge in the late-18th century becomes apparent in various theatrical forms, including theater, opera, and ballet. Each essay in this collection analyzes a key social theme emerging in the late century and its emergence in the opera libretto. The text of libretti begin to mirror key social changes, including such themes as the debate over the country versus the city, the view of the geographical orient as “other,” the historical analysis of Napoleon’s conquest of Italy, and issues governing slavery. The libretto text’s prominence in the late century portends its coming into being as a work of literature, not simply a musical accompaniment. (Edwin Mellen Press, 2014).
Bejart and Modernism
Case Studies in the Archetype of Dance
Choreographer Maurice Bejart is to Europe what choreographer George Balanchine is to the United States. Bejart and Modernism: Case Studies in the Archetype of Dance analyzes to choreographic works of Bejart through a history of multi-theatrical systems dating back to the late 19th century. Through interviews with lead company dancers, through an analysis of the history of theater, and through the author’s serendipitous encounters with the choreographer in Europe and while a student at Berkeley, the book offers a rare glimpse into a European history of ballet. To date, it is the only book on Bejart written by an English-speaking critic/historian of ballet. (University Press of the South, 2006).
The Child Travels Around the World
An independently published book of ten poems based on the author’s own travels as a child and illustrated by her. The poems’ titles suggest the wonder of cities such as London, Lisbon, Paris, New York, and New Orleans and are imaginatively illustrated, evoking the wonder of travel. (Published November 2016).