Skip to main content

Creative Writing Series Hosts Poet Terrance Hayes

Terrence Hays

The work of award-winning American poet Terrance Hayes explores timely themes of race, masculinity, music and popular culture.

“I’m chasing a kind of language that can be unburdened by people’s expectations,” said Hayes in a 2013 interview with Hot Metal Bridge. “I think music is the primary model – how close can you get this language to be like music and communicate feeling at the base level in the same way a composition with no words communicates meaning? It might be impossible. Language is always burdened by thought. I’m just trying to get it so it can be like feeling.”

Hayes will give a free public reading at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 11 in the Lookout Room of the Student Union Building as part of the Boise State MFA in Creative Writing Reading Series. While on campus, Hayes will also meet with graduate student poets in the MFA program.

Hayes, author of six books of poetry, and a short story collection, has received a dizzying number of awards. His books include “American Sonnets for My Past” and “Future Assassins,” a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry; “How to Be Drawn,” longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry; “Lighthead,” winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry; “Wind in a Box,” winner of a Pushcart Prize; “Hip Logic,” winner of the National Poetry Series, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; and “Muscular Music,” winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Hayes is the author of the short story collection “To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight.”

Hayes has received other honors and awards, including a 2014 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, two Pushcart selections, eight Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Fence, The Kenyon Review, Jubilat, Harvard Review and Poetry. His poetry has also been featured on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer.