Terrance Hayes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Terrance Hayes
Hayes reading at the Lannan Center 2020
Hayes reading at the Lannan Center 2020
Born (1971-11-18) November 18, 1971 (age 52)
Columbia, South Carolina
Alma mater
Notable awards
SpouseYona Harvey (divorced)

Terrance Hayes (born November 18, 1971) is an American poet and educator who has published seven poetry collections. His 2010 collection, Lighthead, won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2010.[1] In September 2014, he was one of 21 recipients of a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, awarded to individuals who show outstanding creativity in their work.[2]

Life and education[edit]

Hayes was born in Columbia, South Carolina.[3] He received a B.A. from Coker University and an M.F.A. from the University of Pittsburgh writing program. He was a Professor of Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University until 2013, at which time he joined the faculty at the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh.[4] Currently, he teaches at New York University.[5]

Hayes lives in Manhattan, and he and his ex-wife, the poet Yona Harvey, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, share the custody of their two children.


Hayes's first book of poetry, Muscular Music (1999), won both a Whiting Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.[6] His second collection, Hip Logic (2002), won the National Poetry Series, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets.[7] He won the National Book Award for Lighthead[1] (in which he invented the "golden shovel" poetic form).[8]

Hayes's poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Fence, The Kenyon Review, Jubilat, Harvard Review, West Branch, Poetry, and The Adroit Journal.[9]

In praising Hayes's work, Cornelius Eady has said: "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."[7]

In September 2014, he was honored as one of the 21 2014 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.[10]

In January 2017, Hayes was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.[7]

In 2018, Hayes premiered Cycles of My Being commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Carnegie Hall with music by Tyshawn Sorey starring Lawrence Brownlee. This song cycles center on what it means to be a Black man living in America today. In 2020, the song cycle was made into a film by Opera Philadelphia and released on their digital channel. The poetry was from Hayes' book American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin.[11]

In 2023, Hayes, alongside Nancy Krygowski and Jeffrey McDaniel, was named editor of the Pitt Poetry Series.[12]




  • — (1999). Muscular music. Tia Chucha Press.
  • — (2002). Hip Logic. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-200139-4.
  • — (2006). Muscular music. Reprint. Carnegie Mellon University Press. ISBN 9780887484384.
  • — (2006). Wind in a Box. Penguin Books. ISBN 9781440626982.
  • — (2010). Lighthead. Penguin Books. ISBN 9781440626982.—winner of the National Book Award[1]
  • — (2015). How to Be Drawn. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780143126881.
  • — (2018). American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin. Penguin Books. ISBN 9780143133186.
  • — (2023) So to Speak. Penguin. | ISBN 9780143137726. Ebook | ISBN 9780593511848. Audiobook | ISBN 9780593684009[15]
  • — (2023) Watch Your Language. Penguin. ISBN 9780143137733.
List of poems
Title Year First published Reprinted/collected
Ars poetica with bacon 2016 Hayes, Terrance (July 11–18, 2016). "Ars poetica with bacon". The New Yorker. Vol. 92, no. 21. pp. 78–79.
American Sonnet for the New Year 2019 Hayes, Terrance (January 14, 2019). "American Sonnet for the New Year". The New Yorker. Vol. 94, no. 44. p. 45.


  • — (2018). To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight. Wave Books. ISBN 978-1-940696-61-4.


  1. ^ a b c d "National Book Awards – 2010". National Book Foundation. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2012.(With acceptance speech, reading, interview, and other materials.)
  2. ^ Fuoco, Michael A. (September 17, 2014). "Pittsburgh poet Terrance Hayes named MacArthur Fellow". Post Gazette. Archived from the original on March 21, 2015. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  3. ^ "Terrance Hayes". Poetry Foundation. 2019-01-08. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  4. ^ Norman, Tony (August 25, 2013). "Briefing Books: Lauded poet Terrance Hayes heads to Pitt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on November 26, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  5. ^ "Terrance Hayes". as.nyu.edu. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  6. ^ a b "From the Fishouse > Terrance Hayes Bio". fishousepoems.org. January 19, 2008. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d Academy of American Poets > Terrance Hayes Biography, poets.org, archived from the original on March 15, 2015, retrieved March 21, 2015
  8. ^ The End of the Line: Terrance Hayes and Formal Innovation, by Dora Malech, in The Kenyon Review; published December 22, 2016; retrieved February 15, 2020
  9. ^ a b "John Simom Guggenheim Memorial Foundation >2009 Fellow in Creative Arts - Poetry > Terrance Hayes Bio". gf.org. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  10. ^ Felicia, Lee R. (September 17, 2014). "MacArthur Awards Go to 21 Diverse Fellows". NY Times. Archived from the original on November 21, 2014. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
  11. ^ Chiasson, Dan (25 June 2018). "The Politics and Play of Terrance Hayes". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2021-05-13.
  12. ^ "Three writers, including Terrance Hayes, will serve as Pitt Poetry Series editors". University of Pittsburgh Times. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  13. ^ Treadwell, Jane (5 May 2023). "Poet Terrance Hayes honored at Troy University". The Messenger. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  14. ^ "United States Artists Official Website – Terrance Hayes". usafellows.org. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  15. ^ https://www.npr.org/2023/07/26/1190327652/poet-terrance-hayes-holds-a-mirror-to-history-headlines-and-himself-in-so-to-spe

External links[edit]