Thursday, March 18, 2010

Terrance Hayes is to basketball...


as Michael Jordan's moves are to poetry. I mean, he's good.

I was not a big poetry guy, and whenever I bumped into poetry, poets, and poetry readings, I always felt left of center and outside everything going on.

But then, several years ago, I happened to hear Terrance Hayes read his poetry. Terrance Hayes is a powerful reader, a great reader, and he has an easy, inviting way of discussing his poems that lets you feel like he's okay with you enjoying them, eating them up, making them your own.

That right there to the left, that's him. I decided to put his face there instead of the cover of one of his books, mostly because I couldn't choose just one Terrance Hayes collection of poetry to highlight--they've all got good stuff.

I suppose my favorite book is Hip Logic, if only because that's what I read first. But ever since his first book, Muscular Music, he's been writing kick-ass poetry, poetry that grabs me, pokes at me, makes me laugh. Poetry that makes my throat burn.

He's written a number of poems grounded in pop-culture-- Shaft is a recurring object of fascination for him. He's written a sonnet about Mr. T and a whole cycle of poems about Michael Jackson (pre-death).

He writes about race and sex and all kinds of good stuff. Here's a link to some of his poems online. Be sure and listen to at least one of his readings--I like "The Blue Terrance." I would say more, but Mr. Hayes is the one who should say the rest.

Update!! Holy Crap! I just discovered his new collection just came out this month! I swear I had no idea. Imagine the convergence...

Hayes at Powell's
Books by Terrance Hayes:
Muscular Music
Hip Logic
Wind in a Box


And his newest title: Lighthead


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