Terrance Hayes is a dazzlingly original poet, interested in adventurous explorations of subject and form. His new work, Hip Logic, is full of poetic tributes to the likes of Paul Robeson, Big Bird, Balthus, and Mr. T, as well as poems based on the anagram principle of words within a word. Throughout, Hayes's verse dances in a kind of homemade music box, with notes that range from tender to erudite, associative to narrative, humorous to political. Hip Logic does much to capture the nuances of contemporary male African American identity and confirms Hayes's reputation as one of the most compelling new voices in American poetry.
"Forgive this letter covered in paint. There are no rags around me. I can't tell you where I am, but where I ain't." Selected by Cornelius Eady for the National Poetry Series, Terrance Hayes's Hip Logic is divided into five sections of fast-paced monologues and mania, leavened by "Autumn" ("its scent of cooling grease like the scent you inhaled once along the rim of a girl's collar") and portraits of greater and lesser heroes, from Homer and Audre Lorde to Shaft and Mr. T: "How to hulk through Chicago in a hedgerow afro, an ox-grunt kicking dust behind the teeth; those eighteen glammering gold chains around the throat of pity, that fat hollow medallionlike the sun on a leash "
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May 27, 2002
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