Due to the University’s ongoing efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), this event has been canceled.
Terrance Hayes, an award-winning poet and 2014 MacArthur fellow, will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, in Sydnor Performance Hall in Schewel Hall at the University of Lynchburg. A book signing will follow the event, which is free and open to the public.
The author of seven critically acclaimed books, Hayes served as the 2017-2018 poetry editor for New York Times Magazine and was guest editor of “The Best American Poetry 2014.” His poems have appeared in 10 editions of the series.
Hayes has received numerous awards and nominations, beginning with his 1999 debut “Muscular Music,” which won a Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second book, “Hip Logic” (Penguin, 2002), was selected for the National Poetry Series and a finalist for the Los Angeles Time Book Award and the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.
“Wind In a Box” (Penguin, 2006) was a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award finalist and named one of the best books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. “How to Be Drawn” (Penguin, 2015) received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry, and “Lighthead” (Penguin, 2010) was the winner of the 2010 National Book Award.
His sixth poetry collection, “American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin” (Penguin, 2018), was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the TS Eliot Prize, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Literary Prize for Fiction & Poetry, the LA Times Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award.
“Hayes set himself the challenge of writing political poems in the guise of love poems,” Parul Sehgal wrote in The New York Times. “Each one is distinct: Some are sermons, some are swoons. They are acrid with tear gas, and they unravel with desire . . . These poems play with different registers, but they return to lamentation, to annihilating grief for ‘all the black people I’m tired of losing,’ one narrator says,”
Elizabeth Lund put it this way in The Washington Post: “Hayes reinvigorates a classic form . . . [he] examines what it means to be an American, to belong, and how it feels to be haunted and hunted by violent racism . . . expect to be challenged on nearly every page.”
Hayes has continued to impress readers and juries alike. His most recent publication, the essay collection “To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight” (Wave, 2018), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Poetry Foundation’s 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1971, Hayes attended Coker College, where he studied painting and English, and was an Academic All-American on the men’s basketball team. After receiving his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997, he taught in southern Japan, Columbus, Ohio, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Before becoming a professor of English at New York University, Hayes taught at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.
Read more about Hayes on his website at terrancehayes.com.
The reading is sponsored by the Richard H. Thornton Endowment in English. For more information, call 434.544.8632.