Terrance Hayes

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Terrance Hayes was born in Columbia, South Carolina, on November 18, 1971. He received a BA from Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina, where he studied painting and English and was an Academic All-American on the men’s basketball team, and an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh writing program. Terrance Hayes is the author of eight collections of poetry, including American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Poets, 2018), which received the 2019 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award for poetry and was a finalist for the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry, the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry, the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry, and was shortlisted for the 2018 T. S. Eliot Prize; How to Be Drawn (Penguin Books, 2015), a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and winner of the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry; Lighthead (Penguin, 2010), which won the National Book Award for Poetry; Wind in a Box (Penguin, 2006); Hip Logic (Penguin, 2002), which won the 2001 National Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award; and Muscular Music (Tia Chucha Press, 1999), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He is also the author of the collection, To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight (Wave, 2018), which received the 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism and was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Non-Fiction. He has received many honors and awards, including a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism, and three Best American Poetry selections, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2014, he was named a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. He was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2017 and serves as an ex officio member of the Academy's Board of Directors. He is currently Professor of English at New York University and resides in New York City. Source

American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin (Edited)

Probably twilight makes blackness dangerous

Darkness. Probably all my encounters

Are existential jambalaya. Which is to say,

A brother can survive. Something happened

In Sanford, something happened in Ferguson

And Brooklyn & Charleston, something happened

In Chicago & Cleveland & Baltimore & happens

Almost everywhere in this country every day.

Probably someone is prey in all of our encounters.

You won’t admit it. The names alive are like the names

In graves. Probably twilight makes blackness

Darkness. And a gate. Probably the dark blue skin

Of a black man matches the dark blue skin

Of his son the way one twilight matches another.

Published:

2018

Length:

Regular

Literary Movements:

Contemporary

Anthology Years:

2022

Themes:

Identity

Police Brutality

Racial Injustice

Literary Devices:

Allusion

an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference

Anaphora

a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

Enjambment

a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line

Metaphor

a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic

Simile

a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”

Varied syntax

diverse sentence structure