Art of Poetry at Palmer Museum 19-20

Award-winning Poet Terrance Hayes to Give Emily Dickinson Lecture

MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship recipient and National Book Award Winner Terrance Hayes will offer a reading at Penn State as this year’s Emily Dickinson Lecturer. The reading will be held in Foster Auditorium in Paterno Library on Thursday, September 12th at 7:30 pm. This reading is free and open to the public.

Terrance Hayes is the author of six award-winning collections of poems, including Muscular Music (1999), Hip Logic (2002), Wind in a Box (2006), Lighthead (2010), How to be Drawn (2015), and American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassins (2018). Hip Logic, which captures and confronts the nuances of racism, sexism, and family structure through an overwhelming range of imagery and language, won the National Poetry Series and was a finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and James Laughlin Award. Wind in a Box, a collection named one of the best books by Publisher’s Weekly and awarded the Pushcart Prize, expands upon the themes presented in Hip Logic within the contexts of identity and the pursuit of freedom under smothering confinement. American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins, a 2018 finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry made up of sonnets written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, explores America’s demons, triumphs, dreams, and nightmares in stunning and original verse.

Winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry, Lighthead is Hayes’ most innovative, free-associating poetry collection. It investigates how we construct memory and experience, presenting “the light-headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time.” The citation for the National Book Award described it as “dazzling mixture of wisdom and lyric innovation.” In writing about his focus and style in general, Hayes writes, “There are recurring explorations of identity and culture in my work and rather than deny my thematic obsessions, I work to change the forms in which I voice them. I aspire to a poetic style that resists style.”

Before becoming Professor of English at New York University, Hayes taught at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Hayes is also the author of an essay collection, To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight (2018), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Poetry Foundation’s 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. He has served as the poetry editor for several publications including the New York Times Magazine.

The Emily Dickinson Lectureship in American Poetry is made possible through the generosity of Penn State Alumni George and Barbara Kelly. Additional support for the event comes from the Penn State Department of English.

(Author photo credit: Becky Thurner Braddock)

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Justin Torres to Read September 20

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