Terrance Hayes

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Terrance Hayes
Born (1971-11-18) November 18, 1971 (age 45)
Columbia, South Carolina
Occupation Professor
Nationality American
Alma mater Coker College,
University of Pittsburgh
Genre Poetry
Notable awards National Book Award for Poetry
Spouse Yona Harvey

Terrance Hayes (born November 18, 1971) is an American poet and educator who has published five 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 the prestigious MacArthur fellowships awarded to individuals who show outstanding creativity in their work.[2]

Life and education[edit]

Hayes was born in Columbia, South Carolina.

He received a B.A. from Coker College 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.[3]

He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, the poet Yona Harvey, who also serves as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and their children.[4][5]


Hayes first book of poetry, Muscular Music (1999), won both a Whiting Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.[5] 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.[6] He won the National Book Award for Lighthead.[1]

Hayes 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'.[7]

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."[6]

In September 2014, he was honored as one of the 21 2014 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The fellowship comes with a $625,000 stipend over five years and is one of the most prestigious prizes that is awarded for artists, scholars and professionals.[8]

In January 2017, Hayes was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.[6]


Hayes reading at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 2014

Poetry collections[edit]

  • How to Be Drawn (Penguin Books, 2015)
  • Lighthead (Penguin Books, 2010) —winner of the National Book Award[1]
  • Wind in a Box. Penguin Books. 2006. ISBN 9781440626982. 
  • Hip Logic. Penguin Books. 2002. ISBN 978-0-14-200139-4. 
  • Muscular Music (Tia Chucha Press, 1999; reissued by Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2006)


  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. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ "Smith College Poetry Center > Terrance Hayes Bio". Smith College, smith.edu. Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "From the Fishouse > Terrance Hayes Bio". fishousepoems.org. January 19, 2008. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 
  6. ^ 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 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "United States Artists Official Website – Terrance Hayes". usafellows.org. Archived from the original on January 7, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2015. 

External links[edit]