A new collection from the award winner who has become one of the most compelling new voices in American poetry
Terrance Hayes is an elegant and adventurous writer with disarming humor, grace, tenderness, and brilliant turns of phrase. He is very much interested in what it means to be an artist and a black man. In his first collection, Muscular Music, he took the reader through a living library of cultural icons, from Shaft and Fat Albert to John Coltrane and Miles Davis. His second collection, Hip Logic, continued these explorations of popular culture, fatherhood, cultural heritage, and loss. Wind in a Box, Hayes's resonant new collection, continues his interest in how traditions (of poetry and culture alike) can be simultaneously upended and embraced. The struggle for freedom (the wind) within containment (the box) is the unifying motif as Hayes explores how identity is shaped by race, heritage, and spirituality. This new book displays not only what the Los Angeles Times calls the range of a “bold virtuoso,” but also the imaginative fervor of a poet in love with poetry.
In this searching follow-up to the acclaimed Hip Logic, Hayes bluntly concludes that "everyone/ is a descendant of slaves" and, more tentatively, wonders "if outrunning your captors is not the real meaning of Race?" A series of "Blue" poems ("The Blue Bowie," "The Blue Terrance") considers 20th-century representations of race, culling wisdom and impressions from poet-activist Amiri Baraka, filmmaker and performer Melvin Van Peebles and even Dr. Seuss: "Blacks in one box. Blacks in two box/ Blacks on/ Blacks stacked in boxes stacked on boxes." Utilizing a range of forms and voices-Dante's terza rima, jerky blues in the spirit of Langston Hughes, Frostian lyrics, contemporary prose poems-Hayes brilliantly delivers the aeolian flux promised by the title: "a signature of wind,/ my type-written handwriting reconfiguring the past." (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.