OKLAHOMA CITY – Poet Terrance Hayes, winner of the 2010 National Book Award, will give a reading at 8 p.m. April 3 at Oklahoma City University as part of the 15th annual Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry Series. The reading is free to the public and will be held in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in Meinders School of Business on N.W. 27th Street and McKinley Avenue.
Hayes will also present a workshop titled “Connecting through Poetry” at 10 a.m. and there will be an open mic poetry reading at 6:15 p.m., all in the business school.
Hayes is considered one of the most compelling voices in American poetry. “Lighthead,” his most innovative collection, investigates how humans construct 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 a “dazzling mixture of wisdom and lyric innovation.”
Poetry critic Cornelius Eady commented, “First you'll marvel at his skill, his near-perfect pitch, his disarming humor, his brilliant turns of phrase. Then you'll notice the grace, the tenderness, the unblinking truth-telling just beneath his lines, the open and generous way he takes in our world.”
Hayes has published three other books of poetry: “Wind in a Box” (2006), winner of a Pushcart Prize; “Hip Logic” (2002), 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” (1999), winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.
His other honors include two Best American Poetry selections, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Fence and the Kenyon Review. His poetry has been featured on “News Hour with Jim Lehrer.”
Born in South Carolina in 1971, Hayes received an MFA degree in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University.