Terrance Hayes is the author of five volumes of poetry, including the forthcoming How to Be Drawn, which will be published in 2015. His lecture is titled “The Poetics of Liquid,” and will explore the role uncertainty and influence play in poems and poetics through the lens of Zygmunt Bauman’s idea of Liquid Modernity.
Hayes’s last volume, Lighthead, won the National Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2010. Among his many awards, he has been a recipient of both the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Fellowship. His work, which explores popular culture, race, music, cultural heritage, and masculinity, has appeared in three Best American Poetry collections. Hayes is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities National Student Poets Program, and currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.
Co-presented with the Bagley Wright Lecture Series on Poetry.
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
not perish, she was not turned to ash in the brutal light, she found
a good job, she made good money, she had her own insurance and
a house, she was a decent wife. I know descent lives in the word
decent. The bar noise makes a kind of silence. When Orpheus hands
me his sunglasses, I see how fire changes everything. In the mind
I am behind a woman whose skirt is hiked above her hips, as bound
as touch permits, saying don’t forget me when I become the liquid
out of which names are born, salt-milk, milk-sweet and animal-made.
I want to be a human above the body, uprooted and right, a fold
of pleas released, but I am a black wound, what’s left of the deed.
Muscular Music (1999)
Hip Logic (2002)
Wind in a Box (2006)