Biography of Terrance Hayes
Terrance Hayes (born November 18, 1971) is an American poet and educator who has published four poetry collections. His 2010 collection, Lighthead, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2010.
Hayes was born in Columbia, South Carolina.
He received a B.A. from Coker College and an M.F.A. from the University of Pittsburgh writing program. He was a Professor of Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University until 2013, at which time he joined the faculty at the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh.
He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, the poet Yona Harvey, who also serves as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and their children.
Hayes first book of poetry, Muscular Music (1999), won both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second collection, Hip Logic (2002), won the National Poetry Series, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. He won the National Book Award for Lighthead.
Hayes poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Fence, The Kenyon Review, Jubilat Harvard Review, West Branch, and Poetry.
In praising Hayes's work, Cornelius Eady has said: "First you'll marvel at his skill, his near-perfect pitch, his disarming humor, his brilliant turns of phrase. Then you'll notice the grace, the tenderness, the unblinking truth-telling just beneath his lines, the open and generous way he takes in our world."
Terrance Hayes Poems
Now that my afro's as big as Shaft's I feel a little better about myself. How it warms my bullet-head in Winter,
They are like those crazy women who tore Orpheus when he refused to sing,
For Crying Out Loud
And I understand well now, it is beautiful to be dumb: my tyrannical inclinations, my love for the prodigal jocks aging from primetime to pastime, the pixilated plain people and colored folk
American Sonnet for Wanda C.
Who I know knows why all those lush-boned worn-out girls are Whooping at where the moon should be, an eyelid clamped On its lightness. Nobody sees her without the hoops firing in her Ears because nobody sees. Tattooed across her chest she claims
I said Folk was dressed in Blues but hairier and hemped. After 'We acoustic banjo disciples!' Jebediah said, 'When and whereforth shall the bucolic blacks with good tempers come to see us pluck as Elizabeth Cotton intended?'
The Blue Terrance
If you subtract the minor losses, you can return to your childhood too: the blackboard chalked with crosses,
Lighthead's Guide to the Galaxy
Ladies and gentlemen, ghosts and children of the state, I am here because I could never get the hang of Time. This hour, for example, would be like all the others were it not for the rain falling through the roof.
The Golden Shovel
after Gwendolyn Brooks I. 1981 When I am so small Da's sock covers my arm, we cruise at twilight until we find the place the real
Cocktails with Orpheus
After dark, the bar full of women part of me loves—the part that stood naked outside the window of Miss Geneva, recent divorcée who owned a gun, O Miss Geneva where are you now—Orpheus says she did
What it Look Like
Dear Ol' Dirty Bastard: I too like it raw, I don't especially care for Duke Ellington at a birthday party. I care less and less about the shapes of shapes because forms
The dead were still singing Turn the lights down low Beneath Yellow Bridge where years before, clowning And ass out, Stick jumped with nothing but the State Championship trophy in his righteous clutch. The water
Ode to Big Trend
Pretty soon the Negroes were looking to get paid. My partner, Big Trend, wiped his ox neck and said He wasn't going to wait too much longer. You
Derrick Poem (The Lost World)
I take my $, buy a pair of very bright kicks for the game at the bottom of the hill on Tuesday w / Tone who averages 19.4 points a game, & told me about this spot, & this salesman w / gold ringed fingers fitting a $100 dollar NBA Air Avenger
They are like those crazy women
who tore Orpheus
when he refused to sing,
these men grinding
in the strobe & black lights
of Pegasus. All shadow & sound.
"I'm just here for the music,"