Contained Restlessness: A Reading and Conversation with Terrance Hayes
Terrance Hayes is an elegant and adventurous writer with disarming humor, grace, tenderness, and brilliant turns of phrase, and very much interested in what it means to be an artist and a black man. He has called poetry both "music box and meat grinder" and in his playful, almost improvisational approach to language, his writing takes on the energy and teasing rhythms of jazz. An athlete and artist as well as an award-winning poet, Hayes defies categorization or containment, just as his poetry uses and subverts canonical forms such as the sonnet to create both formal and rhetorical puzzles. Like many in these past months, he knows how to inhabit and make his own the space between flight and confinement. He moves fluidly, brilliantly, and unblinkingly in the space between word and image, between music and breath.
Terrance Hayes’s most recent publications include American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin (Penguin 2018) and To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight (Wave, 2018). To Float In The Space Between was winner of the Poetry Foundation’s 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism and a finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin won the Hurston/Wright 2019 Award for Poetry and was a finalist the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry, the 2018 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry, and the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Hayes is a Professor of English at New York University.