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Episode 16: Terrance Hayes

Episode Summary

Los Angeles Poet Laureate Lynne Thompson reads Terrance Hayes’ "American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin".


Participant(s) Bio

Terrance Hayes is an American poet whose work is noted for its brilliant language, underlying humor, and startling insights. His poetry has been honored with many awards, including the Pushcart Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Poetry Series; in 2014, Hayes received a MacArthur Fellowship. His work, said Stephen Burt in the New York Times, explores multiple identities and multiple forms of masculinity—how to be, or become, various kinds of men--but it is also an art of evasion...Hayes works to escape not the African American identity but the demand that he (or anyone) express that identity in the same way all the time." Writing in Ploughshares, Robert N. Casper observed that Hayes "is as various as he is virtuosic, and he has constructed an oeuvre out of what he calls his 'schizophrenic aesthetic.'...His poems invoke...cultural figures high and low, through address, persona poems, and—in the case of predecessors from Federico Garcia Lorca to Wanda Coleman—imitations."

Source: Gale Literature: Contemporary Authors


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