Poems by
Terrance Hayes

(When I consider the


Wind in a Box


Displaying the range of what the LA Times calls “a bold virtuoso,” Terrance Hayes is one of the most compelling new voices in contemporary poetry. Provocative and unapologetic, Hayes boldly asks "if outrunning your captors is not the real meaning of Race?" His poems lie at what he calls the "intersection of identity and culture." In poems that explore race, cultural heritage, and masculinity, he invokes American icons from Marvin Gaye to Dr. Seuss, and in his ability to deliver anger into tenderness, he shares with us experiences that are uniquely his own and significantly American. As the poet Mary Karr writes, he "will disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed."

Hayes’s work is praised by poets of widely diverse sensibilities. In the words of Tony Hoagland, "He writes fluently and in a wide variety of forms and styles, swinging between narrative and lyric, sincerity and sass, but always one senses a fierce intensity, and the presence of that other significant deity of poetry, empathy." And John Ashbery writes: “One after another, these poems explode with the euphoria of summer lightning for our instruction and joy.”

A native South Carolinian, Hayes's first book of poetry, Muscular Music (1999) won both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second, Hip Logic (2002), was chosen by Cornelius Eady as a National Poetry Series winner, and also named a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Since the publication of his third collection of poems, Wind in a Box (2006), Hayes has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and a 2005 Best American Poetry selection. Hayes currently teaches creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University and lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and children.






    Poetry Center Reading:
    Fall 2006