Award winning poet Hayes featured in Southeastern's ‘Common Read’ program

Thursday, October 16, 2014 Terrance Hayes
by: Tonya Lowentritt

HAMMOND – Terrance Hayes, author of several award-winning volumes of poetry, will visit Southeastern Louisiana University Oct. 23 as part of the institution's fall Common Read program. Hayes was recently honored with a 2014 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship – the so-called "genius" awards.

Sponsored by the Department of English and the Southeastern Writing Center, Common Read provides students and community members the opportunity to read the works and then meet a contemporary author.

Events that day include student presentations on the author's work at 9:30 a.m., an 11 a.m. question and answer session with the author, and a 6:30 p.m. public reading by Hayes followed by a book signing and reception. All events are open to the public and will be held in the Student Union Theatre.

In a series of "blue" poems for his collection "Wind in a Box," Hayes references the standard tropes and forms of blues poetry by speaking in the persona of such figures as Jorge Luis Borges, David Bowie and Strom Thurmond. "The Blue Seuss" is both a satiric embodiment of Seussian rhymes and styles and a condensed, heart-wrenching history of the African American experience, from the Middle Passage to contemporary urban decay.

"For several years now, we've sponsored a Common Read program, featuring a prominent, contemporary author, and it always serves as an exciting experience for our students," said Department of English Head David Hanson. "By meeting and talking with an author who they're studying in class, students gain a rare opportunity to see deeply into an author's life of writing."

Hayes is the author of "Lighthead," winner of the 2010 National Book Award for poetry and several other honors. He received a bachelor's degree from Coker College in 1994 and an M.F.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997.

Currently a professor of writing at the University of Pittsburgh, Hayes was affiliated with Xavier University of Louisiana and Carnegie Mellon early in his career. His additional publications include "Muscular Music," "Hip Logic," and the forthcoming "How to Be Drawn."

More News...